ATLANTA – Civil rights icon Andrew Young says Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is too young and lacks the support network to ascend to the White House.
In an interview posted online, Young also quipped that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has her husband behind her, and that "Bill is every bit as black as Barack."
"He's probably gone with more black women than Barack," Young said of former President Clinton, drawing laughter from a live audience. Young, 75, was quick to follow his comment on Bill Clinton with the disclaimer, "I'm clowning."
Young, a former United Nations ambassador and lieutenant of Martin Luther King Jr., made the comments at an appearance at "Newsmakers Live," an urban media forum that interviews prominent Atlanta personalities and political figures.
Excerpts of the interview were posted on Newsmakers Journal, the Newsmakers' Web site, though the date of the appearance was not included with the video posting. Young had been scheduled to appear on "Newsmakers Live" on Sept. 5, according to a press release.
Repeated efforts by The Associated Press to reach Young were unsuccessful. Obama campaign officials declined Saturday to comment on Young's remarks.
Young's comments were prompted by a member of the audience who inquired about his opinion on Obama's candidacy.
"I want Barack Obama to be president," Young said, pausing for effect, "in 2016."
"It's not a matter of being inexperienced. It's a matter of being young," Young said. "There's a certain level of maturity ... you've got to learn to take a certain amount of (expletive)."
Young went on to say that Obama needs a protective network that he currently lacks — a quality that could hurt him if he were to be elected. He said Hillary Clinton already has that kind of network, including her husband to back her up.
"There are more black people that Bill and Hillary lean on," Young said. "You cannot be president alone. ... To put a brother in there by himself is to set him up for crucifixion. His time will come and the world will be ready for a visionary leadership."