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  • 14

    Where Obama's 'Bitter' Comments Go From Here
    Race; Posted on: 2008-04-12 20:25:17 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Why Small White Towns Are 'Resentful'

    Typically when politicians want to bury bad news, they put it out late on a Friday -- which is precisely when this story broke.

    But for at least five reasons, this story may only gain steam in the days ahead.

    First, Obama and his campaign are attacking the problem head-on, seeking to "hang a lantern on their problem." The candidate sought to clarify his comments last night in Terre Haute, Indiana, and did more of the same today.

    But this morning in Muncie he also offered something approaching a mea culpa, which he pointedly did not last night.

    "I didnít say it as well as I should have because you know the truth is is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation those are important," Obama admitted.

    Such a partial walkback provides a new wrinkle and, more important, new soundbyte sure to find its way onto the evening news and 24-hour cable stations.

    Second, it's being amplified by not just one but two entities. It's in the short-term interest of Hillary (the Pennsylvania primary is in 10 days) and long-term interest of McCain and the GOP to keep dousing gasoline on the fire.

    Hillary is organizing a conference call with Tom Vilsack (not just a former Iowa governor but a Pennsylvania native) and other Keystone state officials to drive her own aggressive message from this morning (that Obama was being an elitist and that religion is embraced because people are "spiritually rich" and not "materially poor).

    The RNC is circulating comments by pundits and reporters that underscore the danger of what Obama said and also enlisting every GOP official from Minority Leader John Boehner to the Pennsylvania Republican chairman to lambaste the Democratic hopeful.

    This double-barreled assault, the equivalent of a two-against-one schoolyard fight, offers significant fodder to both perpetuate the story and balance out Obama's version of what he meant.

    Third, Obama's comments play directly into an already-established narrative about his candidacy. Why did Hillary's Bosnian gaffe cut deep but McCain's Sunni/Shiite mix-up not seem to leave much more than a bruise? Because, fair or not, questions of honesty are the Achilles heel of the Clinton brand while McCain is perceived as strong and knowing on national security. One fit into a framework and the other didn't.

    And much ink has already been spilled on Obama's primary shortcomings and potential general election challenges with blue-collar white voters. For him to an offer an inartful explanation of that which informs these peopleís lives and voting patterns only underlines his weakness with this constituency.


    From a correspondent: Obama comes from a leftist political hothouse, where the needs and concerns of ordinary white people simply do not compute. The only surprising thing is that his statement didn't add words like "redneck," "pickup" and "inbred."
    News Source: politico


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