'I was astounded that the president of Harvard would stoop to such tactics'
According to a university colleague, former president of Harvard and current White House economist Larry Summers once asked for help to "f--- up" one of the school's conservative professors.
Summers' colleague, Cornel West, is a radical race relations instructor who is now a professor at Princeton after departing Harvard in the wake of a dispute with Summers. Obama named West, whom he has called a personal friend, to the Black Advisory Council of his presidential campaign. West was a key point man between Obama's campaign and the black community.
In his recently released memoirs, "Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud," West claims that Summers invited West into his office and asked him to help undermine Harvard government professor Harvey Mansfield, who had professed conservative views.
"Help me f--- him up," Summers reportedly said to West without explaining further.
West writes, "For my part, I was astounded that the President of Harvard would stoop to such tactics."
West further related the details of the alleged encounter in a recent interview with Amy Goodman, host of the far-left Democracy Now Internet television network.
Said West: "And as soon as I walked into the office, [Summers] starts using profanity about Harvey Mansfield. I said, 'No, Harvey Mansfield is conservative, sometimes reactionary, but he's my dear brother.' We had just had debates at Harvard. Twelve hundred people showed up. He was against affirmative action; I was for it. That was fine. Harvey Mansfield and I go off and have a drink after, because we have a respect, but deep, deep philosophical and ideological disagreement. He was using profanity, so I had to defend Harvey Mansfield."
"Wait, so you're saying Lawrence Summers was using profanity?" Goodman asked.
Continued West: "Larry Summers using profanity about, you know, 'help me 'F' so and so up.' No, I don't function like that. Maybe he thought that just as a black man, I like to use profanity. I'm not a puritan. I don't use it myself. I have partners who do."