James Clyburn invokes JFK

September 6, 2012

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the third-ranking Democrat in the House, greeted the delegation from his neighboring home state before likening President Obama invoked of one of the great icons in his party’s history, President John F. Kennedy.

Riffing throughout his speech on JFK's famous paraphrase of a Chinese proverb, “we are not here to curse the darkness; we are here to light a candle,” Clyburn said that the “fundamental” difference between the two major-party tickets is that “President Obama has lit candle after candle, bringing our country out from the darkness of recession, only to see Republicans douse the flames and amuse themselves cursing the darkness.”

Clyburn went on the attack against his House colleague, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), calling him the author of the “Republicans' backward blueprint” that would “cut taxes for the wealthiest one percent, end the guarantee of Medicare and seek to balance the budget on the backs of hard-working Americans.”

Ticking off items from the list of Obama’s first-term accomplishments highlighted over and over again throughout the convention, Clyburn drew his loudest response from the audience when addressing the president’s health-care law.

“We should not run from the term Obamacare. I am glad Obama cares,” Clyburn said as the audience erupted. “Because Obama cares, children born with diabetes can no longer be denied coverage on their parents' insurance policies. People with catastrophic illnesses can no longer be dropped from coverage when they get sick. Families will no longer have their benefits capped.”

Clyburn, the son of a minister, closed on a Bible quote: “Romans 13, verse 12 tells us: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." Let us go from this place, lighting candles all across this great country and re-elect President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden so they can continue moving our country forward into the light.

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Natalie Jennings · September 6, 2012