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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Obama, the Race Card, and Pretzel Logic (Updated)

(H/T to Hot Air) This story was first reported by Jake Tapper.

"John McCain right now, he's spending an awful lot of time talking about me," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said today in Rolla, Mo. "You notice that? I haven’t seen an ad yet where he talks about what he’s gonna do. And the reason is because those folks know they don’t have any good answers, they know they’ve had their turn over the last eight years and made a mess of things. They know that you’re not real happy with them."

Obama continued: "And so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me. So what they’re saying is, ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he’s... doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, you know, he’s got a, he’s got a funny name


Correct me if I'm wrong, but does it not seem as if Obama just said McCain and his campaign -- presumably the "they" in this construct -- are saying that Obama shouldn't be elected because he's a risk because he's black and has a foreign-sounding name?

Now, I may be wrong and this might a minor gaffe of little significance, however this, in my opinion, has the potential to explode. To me, there is no doubt that Obama attempted to use the race card. That is simply unacceptable. Furthermore, the Obama campaign appears to be digging a deeper hole with their pretzel logic.

What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington,” Gibbs said. “There is nothing more to this than the fact that he was describing that he was new to the political scene. He was referring to the fact that he didn’t come into the race with the history of others. It is not about race.”

Well, if all Obama meant was that he is from outside the beltway, then, frankly, he is no different from many former Presidents. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, JFK, Abraham Lincoln and even George Washington himself (since there was no D.C. yet) make up a very partial list of former Presidents with little if any time spent in D.C. The current President spent no time in D.C. If this is what Obama meant, then he needs a history lesson.

Of course, it's unlikely this is what he meant, and it is very similar to another race card he played earlier.

We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

This is now the second time Obama has played the race card and it is unacceptable and I don't think most voters will like it all that much. The men on our currency are NOT different from Obama because he has spent much time in D.C. They are different based on skin color. It is impossible to draw any other conclusion and given his history, we are now seeing a pattern. This sort of bottom of the barrel politics almost always backfires. It appears to me at least as though Obama is attempting to hint that any attack on him is racial and demagoguery. Well, that's just not how it works. Attacking your opponent is standard operating procedure in campaigns. Obama's attempts to deflect criticism into something nefarious is the worst sort of cynicism.

Depending on how much media attention this gains, this story may wind up proving to be a significant gaffe for Obama. Jonathon Martin also reports. Here is the video.


According to Hot Air, the Obama campaign has released another statement.

“This is a race about big challenges—a slumping economy, a broken foreign policy, and an energy crisis for everyone but the oil companies. Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they’re using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he’ll continue to talk about.”

These sort of nebulous rhetorical attacks have become standard issue in Obama's arsenal. McCain isn't a racist just a typical cynical politician. Well, in fact, that maybe so, though I would disagree vigorously, but totally irrelevant. That in no way explains the statement that started this controversy. Here it is again.

“What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me,” Obama said. “You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

That statement was, to me at least, a clear reference to his race. I know a cynical political attack when I see one, and I also know when someone has played the race card. Barack Obama played the race card. He can backpeddle all he wants, but it is now a matter of the record.

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