MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell asked former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) if he thought the skit that Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio performed on Saturday would be a problem for the Clinton campaign, considering that part of the skit included what was clearly an “offensive racist joke.”
The skit, which also featured black actor Leslie Odom, Jr. from the hit musical Hamilton, had Clinton complaining to de Blasio about the length of time it took before he endorsed her presidential run. De Blasio apologizes to Hillary, saying that he was running on CP time.
Odom responds by telling de Blasio, “That’s not, I don’t like jokes like that Bill. That’s not…”
Clinton jumps in trying to redefine the term by saying “Cautious Politician Time.”
But even though it was meant to be funny, the damage was done.
The term “CP Time” is an expression meaning “Colored People Time,” a negative racial stereotype referring to blacks being frequently late.
Mitchell: There were groans from the audience. What was she thinking? What was the mayor thinking?
Israel: Well, my understanding is that, you know, the mayor was talking about cautious politicians. You’re in a presidential environment where every word, every noun, every vowel is going to be parsed and turned against people.
They were doing a skit. They referred to ‘cautious politician time,’ something my colleagues know a lot about. And Senator Sanders has decided to make that an issue. But that’s not an issue, the real issue is that Hillary Clinton has consistently supported the African-American community as a senator, as secretary of state. I’ll put her record up against Bernie Sanders’ record any day of the week.
De Blasio defended the skit by saying it was a “joke” and that people are “missing the point” if they are upset about it. Clinton’s response to criticism of the skit was to pin the blame on de Blasio, saying it was his skit.
The skit comes on the heels of Bill Clinton’s outburst at a Black Lives Matter protester last week during a speech he was giving in support of his wife’s presidential campaign. Clinton was defending the 1994 crime bill, which both he and Hillary supported and have credited with helping to reduce crime in the U.S. Many in the black community blame the law—and in turn the Clintons—for what they say are increased incarceration rates of blacks.
Even though Hillary enjoys widespread support from the black community, incidences like these are reminders that it won’t necessarily be smooth sailing for her in the general election.