Project 21 Press Release: Black Activists React to Senator Joe Biden’s Comments About Senator Barack Obama

In calling Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) a “storybook” candidate based on his view that Biden is “articulate, bright and clean,” Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has angered members of the black leadership network Project 21, who say Biden’s remarks are elitist, condescending and insensitive.

“Joe Biden’s comments are completely unacceptable and clearly elitist,” said Project 21 member Ak’bar Shabazz.  “By praising Obama as the first ‘articulate, bright and clean’ black presidential candidate, he isn’t only insulting the senator from Illinois, but all black Americans who strive to polish themselves and provide a positive image in the community.  Biden clearly needs to open his aristocratic eyes and realize that there are many well-qualified, educated and capable blacks out there who are serving our country in the government and the private sector.” 

In an interview published in the February 5 issue of The New York Observer, Biden said of Obama: “I mean, you’ve got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.  I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Biden’s words, while particularly directed at former black presidential nominees Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton and the late representative Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), are also seen as insulting to other blacks.  Project 21 members also believe Biden’s comments reveal what they consider the liberal establishment’s animus toward minority politicians who don’t follow their lead.  Biden, in particular, has been a fierce critic of black conservatives such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.

“This proves Senator Biden should stick to using other people’s words instead of his own,” said Project 21 member Kevin Martin.  “A few months back, he was caught stereotyping Indians as convenience store and donut shop employees.  Now, he gives Senator Obama the backhanded compliment of being a ‘storybook’ candidate because he is ‘articulate, bright and clean.’  It seems Obama’s liberalism seals the deal, considering the abuse he and his colleagues lump upon ‘articulate, bright and clean’ conservative blacks such as Condoleezza Rice, Michael Steele, J.C. Watts and Clarence Thomas.”

“Joe Biden’s comments are a conspicuous example of the true liberal perspective of blacks,” said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie.  “Blacks are good enough to be used, but at the end of the day elitist liberals view them as inferior and treat them with blatant disregard.  Even though I have unapologetic philosophical differences with Barack Hussein Obama, it cannot be denied that, pursuant to intellectual and linguistic ability, Biden is unarguably inferior to Obama.  Perhaps Biden’s comments can best be described as jealousy for his own shortcomings.”

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.