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Clay Aiken drops Clinton for Biden, praises Trump

Clay Aiken drops Clinton for Biden, praises Trump

Story by Deena Zaru Video by Alex Lee, CNN

Updated 12:16 PM ET, Thu October 8, 2015


Clay Aiken calls Hillary Clinton 'a leaky boat' 03:23

New York (CNN) Former "American Idol" star Clay Aiken once was ready for Hillary, but now the one-time Democratic congressional candidate has passionately endorsed Vice President Joe Biden.

"To some extent, I kind of feel like Secretary Clinton is a leaky boat at this point and that concerns me as a Democrat," Aiken said.

Aiken, who won the hearts of millions of Americans in 2003 when he placed second on "American Idol," backed Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primary and expressed his support when Clinton declared her second presidential bid in April.

But as questions about Clinton's trustworthiness loomed, largely in light of controversy around her exclusive use of personal email while at the State Department, Aiken had a change of heart.

Aiken told CNN that while he has "nothing but respect" for Clinton," he worries that "a lot of (moderates) have negative feelings towards (her)."

"I'll get on a leaky boat going in the right direction before I'll get on a strong boat going in the wrong direction," Aiken said, "But I really want a strong boat next year on the Democratic side and I think Joe Biden is a better candidate."

Biden gaffes: 'moments of authenticity'

Biden is known for off-the-cuff colorful moments -- some of which have caused headaches for the Obama administration. After introducing President Barack Obama during the Obamacare signing ceremony in 2010, Biden turned to Obama and said, "This is a big f------ deal."

When asked about the famous and at times infamous Biden gaffes, Aiken said that those moments should not be referred to as gaffes and are, in fact, "moments of authenticity" that voters respond to positively.

"I think there is something refreshing about it and I think people are starting to recognize that," Aiken said

Aiken previously called Clinton "stiff" and advised her to "loosen up."

"@HillaryClinton, I love you. But why are you the stiffest and most scripted looking person in this video? #loosenup," Aiken tweeted.

Aiken said such moments of authenticity seem to be resonating with voters and making candidates more likable.

"If you look at the person who has said more things that would be considered gaffes than anybody else -- Donald Trump -- seriously, and he's at the top of the pack," Aiken said. "I don't think gaffes are a liability. I don't think they should be called gaffes."

Clinton, who recently appeared on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" has sought to become more spontaneous as her campaign moves forward.

'Big mistake' not to take Trump seriously

Aiken, who is also a former competitor on NBC's "The Apprentice" knows Trump personally and was actually firedby him on the show. (He came in second to Arsenio Hall in 2012.)


Arsenio Hall, Donald Trump and Clay Aiken attend the "Celebrity Apprentice" Live Finale at American Museum of Natural History on May 20, 2012 in New York City.

"I'm a friend of his. I like him as a person. He's always been very kind to me except for when he made me lose on 'The Apprentice,'" Aiken joked of Trump. "But he's a good guy and I certainly think people are mistaken if they don't take him seriously and we see that in the poll numbers."

Aiken likens Trump to "that uncle, who embarrasses the hell out of you sometimes and you still love them, but damn, you wish they'd shut up."

But for Aiken, the "biggest testament" to Trump being a nice guy are his children.

Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr. "are some of the most grounded, smart, un-entitled individuals that you'd ever care to meet," Aiken said. "They are incredibly respectful and smart and driven and grounded and I think that's a testament to somebody as a father."

Why he ran for office

Aiken said that becoming a father is one of the reasons that prompted him to run for public office. He lost his congressional bid to represent North Carolina's 2nd District to Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in 2014.


"I didn't run because I wanted to be a politician. I ran because I saw a need. I think that need still exists," Aiken said, naming education as one of his top issues.

He said he was disappointed that the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers union has already endorsed Clinton.

"As a member of the NEA, I would have hoped that they had been a little bit more patient to see, first ... to really let us hear the positions of everyone before they endorsed," Aiken said.

But he added that none of the candidates on either side have talked about education enough to make him happy.

Aiken is an admirer of southern politicians willing to "buck the trends in the South" and cited former North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford as his political idol.

"He was the first and only governor in the South who spoke up against segregation so vocally and he consolidated the university system in North Carolina and really understood the importance of education to improving the economy," Aiken said.

But Aiken won't be running again "anytime soon."

"I don't think I'll run in 2016 -- that's for sure. Probably not in 2018, maybe not even in 2020. I think eventually, I'll run again," Aiken said.

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Clay Aiken participates in 'Politicon' convention

Clay Aiken Participates in "Politicon" Convention

By: Jeffrey Thomas DeSocio

Twelve years ago on the second season of ‘American Idol’, Clay Aiken gave what many fans consider to be one of the show's best performances ever.

Aiken has just signed on to participate in the first annual Politicon - a comic con style, "unconventional" convention taking place in Los Angeles on October 9th and 10th.

The worlds of politics and entertainment are set to unite this fall at the Los Angeles Convention Center on October 9 and 10 for the first ever Politicon. A nonpartisan fan fest for politics and entertainment, Politicon will bring together politicians, pundits, comedians and entertainers from across the spectrum for a weekend of comedy, panels, radio and TV broadcasts, debates, podcasts, book readings, interviews, art exhibitions, film screenings, meet & greets, music performances and much more.

Already confirmed to participate in Politicon are James Carville, David Axelrod, Newt Gingrich, Jordan Klepper, The Yes Men, Doris Kearns Goodwin and many more to be announced in the coming weeks. Media outlets such as Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, VICE News, #EmergingUS, Newsweek, The Young Turks, KCRW, The Daily Beast, Slate, Salem Media Group, Think Progress, Politico and more will be programming events, reporting and broadcasting live from Politicon.

Politicon will also treat attendees to a variety of music performances, movie screenings amplified by directors’ commentary and Q&A’s, and comedy skits presented by the Upright Citizens Brigade.


Clay Aiken participates in 'Politicon' convention

‘Politicon’ will be at the LA Convention Center On Friday, October 9th beginning at 2:00pm, then Saturday from 10:00am to 10:00pm.

Follow Clay Aiken on Twitter: @clayaiken

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Clay Aiken Flashes a Smile and a Wink on Ellmers Affair Rumors

Clay Aiken flashes a smile and a wink on Ellmers affair rumors


10/11/15 3:07 PM

Clay Aiken thinks there is some humor to be found in the rumors that his former 2014 election opponent Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., had an affair with a fellow member of Congress.

Rumors of an affair between Ellmers and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had be circulating for some time, but suspicions flared last week when McCarthy abruptly announced his departure from the contest to be the next speaker of the House. He was widely seen as the front-runner.

The rumors led Ellmers to put out a statement saying she has been the victim of "completely false accusations and innuendo."

In a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" interview Saturday, Aiken, a former runner-up on "American Idol", was asked about his failed campaign to take Ellmers' seat in the 2014 election.

Ellmers, a one-term incumbent at the time, defeated Aiken by a margin of 58.8 percent to 41.2 percent.

"Did you run against Ellmers because you felt like she was too in bed with the establishment?" a Reddit user asked Aiken.

Aiken's response: ;-) — an emoji depicting a smiling face with a wink.

Elsewhere in the AMA, Aiken addressed his recent endorsement of Vice President Joe Biden for president in 2016.

Last week, Aiken told CNN that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a "leaky boat" and that Biden is a better candidate. Several media outlets reported the endorsement as a swap from Clinton to Biden.

"I am not sure that I would ever claim it was a shift," wrote Aiken. "I have always supported Sen. Biden, Vice President Biden, and hopefully future President Biden."

"I think electability of a Democratic candidate should be of primary importance," he continued.

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Clay Aiken Pokes Fun at Himself After Steve Harvey's Miss Universe Snafu



((AP Photo/Clay Aiken for Congress))

Oh what a different world it might have been if Steve Harvey ever crossed paths with North Carolina's Clay Aiken.

Harvey is in hot water after wrongly announcing the winner of Sunday night's Miss Universe competition.

Aiken seized the opportunity to poke fun at himself.

Aiken even mentioned his failed bid at winning a seat in Congress (Aiken lost to Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers 59 to 41 percent).

pf7cs4oC_normal.jpgClay Aiken


Man! If only #missuniverse host @IAmSteveHarvey had been counting the votes for the NC-2 Congressional race back in 2014. I could have won!

11:25 PM - 20 Dec 2015

Clay Aiken


.@iamsteveharvey can I get u hosting every competition I ever enter! I would have won #AmericanIdol #CelebApprentice & a seat in Congress!

11:39 PM - 20 Dec 2015

Aiken had name recognition as the 2003 runner-up on American Idol, but was still largely considered the underdog, especially after Republicans re-drew the congressional map in 2011. It's a rural and mostly conservative district that stretches from Asheboro east to Cary, including parts of Apex, Fayetteville and Sanford.

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