COLUMBIA, S.C. (WLTX, AP) -- Tuesday, a South Carolina state senator addressed comments he made to a newspaper reporter about Barack Obama's chances as a presidential candidate.
Charleston Senator Robert Ford and Hopkins Senator Darrell Jackson, who are both African-American, told The Associated Press recently that they are supporting Hillary Clinton, and that they believe she is the only Democrat who can win.
But it's Ford's comments about Obama--the Illinois Senator who's hoping to become the first African-American to become president--that have caused some controversy.
Ford says he likes Obama, but thinks his candidacy would hurt Democrats. Ford says every Democrat on the ticket would lose with Obama as the presidential candidate because he is black.
Here is his quote, from the Associated Press:
"Then everybody else on the ballot is doomed. Every Democratic candidate running on that ticket would lose because he's black and he's at the top of the ticket. We'd lose the House, the Senate and the governors and everything. I'm a gambling man. I love Obama. But I'm not going to kill myself."
News19 asked Ford about his comments, which were made during a speech several weeks ago. He explains the statement this way:
"I was challenged by a young person about why a black person like you is not supporting a black candidate. In the past, I have supported black candidates...And he kept challenging me, and I said well, I asked him blah, blah, blah, it led to something else. That's all heat of passion. But I wish Senator Obama well."
Later in the day, however, he made a statment to the Associated Press, saying, "If I caused anybody – including myself – any pain about the comments I made earlier, then I want to apologize to myself and to Senator Obama and any of his supporters."
For most of the interview with News19, he didn't talk specifically about his quote, saying that he strongly supports Clinton.
"She's speaking the same language(in the U.S. Senate) as I am in the South Carolina Senate."
Ford says he's been a friend of the Clintons since 1992. He says he was swayed by calls from the Clintons.
Ford and Jackson helped South Carolina native John Edwards win the state's primary in 2004. The former North Carolina senator is running again next year, too. But Jackson says Edwards had his chance four years ago.
News19 contacted Jackson's office Tuesday. He issued the following statement: "I think that Obama running for president is good for America, but I don't support him. I think Clinton has the most experience, and is ready to lead the nation right now."