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Elections 2012

Rep. John Lewis Stumps For Hillary Clinton


And now let's hear from a Democrat, Representative John Lewis of Georgia, who's known for his work during the civil rights movement and is now focused on bringing out the African-American vote, if he can, for Hillary Clinton.

Congressman, welcome back to the program.

JOHN LEWIS: Well, thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

INSKEEP: Why do you think the early indications are in some key states, like Florida and North Carolina, that black voter turnout is down compared to 2012?

LEWIS: Well, during this week, the past few days, I've spent a great deal of time in Florida, in North Carolina yesterday, and I can tell you the African-American vote will be turning out in Florida, in North Carolina, not just early voting but on Tuesday November 8. They will be at the ballot. They will be casting their vote for Hillary Clinton. They believe in her.

INSKEEP: You can see why people would be concerned on your side, though, if the early vote is not there at the same rate that it was four years ago.

LEWIS: Now, I can understand why some people are concerned. But I've been out there meeting with people, talking with people, marching with people. We held a very successful march to the polls yesterday in Charlotte, N.C. We marched in Daytona Beach two days ago. I am convinced that there will be a high African-American vote at the polls on November 8 all across America.

INSKEEP: Was the Clinton campaign a little slow to engage African-Americans this time around.

LEWIS: I don't think so. I think African-Americans have been engaged since the very beginning of the campaign. One of the first speeches that Mrs. Clinton made when she announced her campaign was to do something about the criminal justice reform and her second major speech was fixing the Voting Rights Act.

INSKEEP: Let's remember a couple of things that are said about Hillary Clinton and about Democrats, though, Congressman. Some people will look back to Bill Clinton's record in the 1990s, question things that Secretary Clinton said then, a reference to superpredators for example. And of course the argument is made that Democrats have received a lot of black votes but not done very much for African-Americans. Do you feel that that you're doing what you need to do to clean up Secretary Clinton's - Clinton's reputation, if that is the word, with some black voters?

LEWIS: Well, I think we are all who are out there pushing and pulling, urging people to vote for Secretary Clinton. We know her and we know her very well. We know President Clinton. We know him and we know him very well. Mr. Trump has the support of the Klan, and we know what the Klan did, what they said. They burned churches. They murdered people. They were against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And we cannot and will not identify with someone who has the support of the Klan.

INSKEEP: Congressman - Congressman, got to stop you there. Thank you very much.

LEWIS: Well, thank you very much, and have a great day.

INSKEEP: And we will just note for the record that a Klan-associated newspaper did in fact endorse Donald Trump for president, although the Trump campaign has disavowed that support.

Now, on election night and the day after, NPR News will have live coverage from reporters across the country who will be breaking down local and national results. You can listen live and follow the races that matter to you at Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.