Black leaders: Clinton needs to reach out

May 25, 2008 at 2:00 PM
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NEW YORK, May 25 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton's standing among some blacks has suffered because of comments made while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, critics say.

African-American elected officials and religious leaders in New York City say if Clinton wants to remain the Empire State's junior U.S. senator, she has fences to mend, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

State Sen. Bill Perkins, who represents Harlem, said constituents recently phoned him because they wanted to demonstrate outside Bill Clinton's Harlem office against comments made by the former president. Likewise, state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, who represents parts of the Bronx, said his wife removed a photograph of Bill Clinton from her office wall in protest.

State Assemblyman Karim Camara of Brooklyn said once the primary campaign is over Hillary Clinton needs to reach out to the black community.

"Once the campaign is over there has to be a lot of work to heal the wounds," Camara said. "She needs to go back to the black churches she visited in the course of her campaign and have a frank conversation about who she is and how much the support of the black community means."

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