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Congressional Black Caucus member to announce own endorsement days after PAC chooses Clinton

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 12, 2016 at 12:33 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- South Carolina Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn has remained neutral in presidential primary races, but he's signaled that may change after the weekend.

Clyburn is the third-ranking member of the Congressional Black Caucus, several members of which have thrown their support behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Earlier this week, the caucus' PAC endorsed her, though Clyburn at the time chose to remain neutral in his support.

Despite remaining silent in the 2008 primary election, Clyburn told The Hill on Thursday he planned to announce his endorsement after the weekend. The change of heart, he said, was due to pressure from his family.

"My youngest daughter is very much for Hillary. My oldest grandson is very much for Sanders," he said. "So we've got a split family."

Earlier in the week, Clyburn discussed the Clinton family's southern roots.

"I think when people have certain experiences, it helps to shape them," he told USA Today. "If you're the governor of a southern state, as [President] Bill Clinton was, and she of course was first lady, you will get certain experiences interacting with southerners and people of color that you probably won't get coming up in politics as Bernie Sanders."

When Clinton lost South Carolina to Barack Obama in the 2008 primary, Clyburn received a 2 a.m. phone call from Bill Clinton that Clyburn detailed in his memoir Blessed Experiences.

"If you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one," Clinton reportedly told Clyburn at the time.

But Clyburn says there are no hard feelings.

"It was a phone call from a husband who was supporting his wife in a political campaign. I understand that."

Clyburn also praised Sanders for campaigning on the issue of income inequality.

"The emotions of income inequality run very deep in this country, and I think that both sides are beginning to understand that. I don't think they understood that sufficiently," Clyburn said. "We bounced back from the recession, but you can't tell that to people living on Main Street, or on Walton Street, where I grew up."

Meanwhile, a lone caucus member, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., has voiced his support for Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.

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