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James Clyburn Endorses Joe Biden With Powerful Speech: For the First Time I Fear for This Country

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Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden scored the coveted endorsement of House Majority Whip and South Carolina Democratic kingmaker James Clyburn, who delivered a powerful speech in which he said for the first time, “I fear for this country.”

There was little suspense over which candidate would earn Clyburn’s endorsement, but on Wednesday morning, Rep. Clyburn delivered that endorsement in dramatic fashion. Clyburn held a press conference to announce his endorsement of Vice President Biden, and delivered a lengthy, impassioned speech that hit a crescendo when he talked about one of this country’s — and his own — darkest hours.

Earlier in the speech, Clyburn had spoken emotionally about meeting his future wife Emily Clyburn — who passed away in September — on the South Carolina State Campus the same day he was arrested during the civil rights era, sixty years ago in March. He talked about their time together, and the weight of history, and the burden of his tremendous influence with his community’s voters.

And toward the end of the speech, Clyburn referred back to those times with Emily.

“I know Joe. We know. But most importantly, Joe knows us. That’s important,” Clyburn said.

He went on to add that “I know where this country is. We are at an inflection point.”

“On that day that I met Emily, I went to jail around 10:00 in the morning and I was discharged from jail, bailed out, around 5:30 in the evening,” Clyburn continued. “When I sat in jail that day, I wondered whether or not we were doing the right thing, but I was never fearful of the future.”

“As I stand before you today, I am fearful for the future of this country,” Clyburn said. “I’m fearful for my daughters and their futures, and their children’s and their children’s future. This country is at an inflection point, it’s time for us to restore this country’s dignity. This country’s respect. That is what is at stake this year.”

“And I can think of no one better suited, better prepared, I can think of no one with the integrity, no one more committed to the fundamental principles that make this country what it is, than my good friend, my late wife’s great friend, Joe Biden,” he concluded.

Watch the speech above via MSNBC.

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