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Barack Obama Video Defending Filibuster Goes Viral after Declaring it ‘Jim Crow Relic’



Video has emerged showing Barack Obama defending the filibuster in 2005 prior to describing it as a “Jim Crow relic” as the issue on the practice was brought up in President Joe Biden’s first press conference.

In 2005, then-Illinois senator Obama argued against ending the filibuster, saying the American people do not expect political parties to “change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.

“If the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to Democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse,” Obama said.

The clip was widely shared on social media on Thursday, as well as being played on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier.

Obama’s viewpoint on the filibuster, which allows senators to speak for as long as they wish unless three-fifths of the body vote to move on, later changed. In July 2020, Obama gave a eulogy for the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis in which he suggested the practice should be scrapped.

“And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, in order to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do,” he said.

Sen. Barack Obama in 2005 vigorously defending the filibuster, which he now decries as a “Jim Crow relic:”

— Christian Schneider (@Schneider_CM) March 25, 2021

It is not only Obama who has flip-flopped over the filibuster. Biden himself argued in 2005 that ending it would be a mistake during what he called “one of the most important speeches for historical purposes that I will have given” in the 32 years since he had been in the Senate.

“It is not only a bad idea, it upsets the Constitutional design and it services the country,” Biden said. “No longer would the Senate be that ‘different kind of legislative body’ that the Founders intended. No longer would the Senate be the ‘saucer’ to cool the passions of the immediate majority.”

He added: “Without the filibuster, more than 40 Senators would lack the means by which to encourage compromise in the process of appointing judges. Without the filibuster, the majority would transform this body into nothing more than a rubber stamp for every judicial nomination.”

During Biden’s first official White House news conference, the president stopped short of suggesting that the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to pass legislation in the Senate, should be eliminated but modified as “it’s being abused in a gigantic way.”

“It used to be, you had to stand there and talk and talk and talk and talk until you collapsed. And guess what? People got tired of talking and tired of collapsing,” he said.

“So I strongly support moving in that direction, in addition to having an open mind about dealing with certain things that are just elemental to the functioning of our democracy, like the right to vote.”

Biden added that “if there’s complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we will have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”

Biden told reporters on Thursday that he agreed with Obama’s remarks that the filibuster was a relic of the Jim Crow era.

When asked why it should therefore not be abolished, Biden replied: “Successful electoral politics is the art of the possible. Let’s figure out how we can get this done and move in the direction of significantly changing the abuse of even the filibuster rule first.

“It’s been abused from the time it came into being by an extreme way in the last 20 years. Let’s deal with the abuse first.”

Discussing the 2005 Obama clip on the Special Report with Bret Baier, Fox News commentator and former Rep. Trey Gowdy asked: “If it is a racist relic, and when did that happen? Obama supported it, Senator Biden supported it — when did it become racist?”

Barack Obama waves to reporters after returning to the White House on board Marine One September 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images



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