Top S.C. Democrat stays on the sidelines

Jan. 21, 2008 at 12:19 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The man known as South Carolina's kingmaker won't endorse a candidate for his state's Democratic presidential primary.

House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., the highest-ranking black member of Congress, told ABC News that like everyone else, he is torn between front-runners Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Clyburn, 67, said he takes enormous personal pride in Obama's candidacy, adding that as the father of three girls he is also proud of Clinton's historic run.

ABC News said Clyburn came close to abandoning his neutrality promise earlier this month when remarks made by Clinton appeared to diminish the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in achieving civil rights legislation.

"So I am keeping my promise to the party because I think this whole thing is much bigger than my emotions," Clyburn told ABC.

The Clinton campaign said Clyburn must have been misinformed about what had actually been said but Clyburn disagreed.

"I wouldn't say I was misinformed," said Clyburn.

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