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Chicago Clinton Supporter: Obama's Mentor Called Me 'Uncle Tom'

By Bill Sammon

Racial infighting among Democrats, which marred the presidential primaries, has flared up again at the party’s convention in Denver, where a black Hillary Clinton delegate is accusing a black Barack Obama delegate of calling her an “Uncle Tom.”

Delmarie Cobb of Chicago told FOX News Monday that Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, whom Obama called his “political godfather,” hurled the racially charged insult against her late Saturday for speaking out in support of Clinton. Although Democrats at the convention are trying to project an image of unity, there is lingering bitterness between the Clinton and Obama camps, in part because each side accused the other of playing the race card during the primaries.

On Monday, Illinois’ National Organization for Women President Bonnie Grabenhofer reportedly called on Jones to resign immediately from the Illinois state Senate for using the racial slur.

“That was a pretty horrible comment,” Grabenhofer, also a Clinton delegate, told The Sun-Times.

Cobb said Jones called her “Uncle Tom” in front of a group of Chicago aldermen in a hotel lobby after the two began a playful conversation that turned edgy as Cobb accused Jones of gloating over Obama’s victory. Jones then insinuated that Clintons played “gutter politics,” according to Cobb, who ended the conversation by announcing it was “time for me to go.”

“I walked away and said good night and walked over across the hall to the elevators,” she recalled. “And he shouted across the lobby, ‘Uncle Tom!’

“And I came back over and said, ‘Excuse me, what did you just say?’ And he grabbed me by my arms and started laughing. And I said, ‘No, no. What did you just say?’ And he didn’t repeat it. And I said, ‘Did you call me an Uncle Tom?’ And then I came back with a barrage of things that I won’t repeat publicly.”

The epithet comes from the title character of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 19th century anti-slavery novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and typically it is construed as an insult meaning a black person who acts passively or submissively toward whites.

Initially, Jones denied calling Cobb an “Uncle Tom” and refused to elaborate. However, he is now telling reporters that he called her a “doubting Thomas” and that Cobb must have misheard the remark.

“She was spouting things about Barack,” Jones said. “What I said was, ‘Come on board, he’s a nice, clean cut guy and everything.’ I said, ‘We’ve got to stop all this. We’ve got too many doubting Thomases and we’ve got to get together.’

“And she was walking away and therefore she heard the last part of the word; she didn’t hear the whole part,” Jones added. “I cannot apologize for one misinterpreting what I said.”

Cobb questioned why the “doubting Thomas” explanation never came up when she first confronted Jones and he refused to repeat his remark.

“If he had said ‘doubting Thomas,’ he should have said it right then and there, said, ‘No, I did not say Uncle Tom, I said doubting Thomas.’ And it would have been over with,” Cobb said.

The Chicago Sun-Times quoted several aldermen who witnessed the exchange and confirmed that Jones called Cobb an “Uncle Tom.”

“I am firm in my convictions,” Cobb told FOX News. “Supporting Hillary Clinton is not a litmus test for being black.”

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