Saturday, January 26, 2008

Barack Obama Wins South Carolina; Bill Clinton Tries to Marginalize Obama By Comparing Him To Jesse Jackson

Barack Obama is a big winner tonight in South Carolina, winning the state in a big way, and in such a way that the networks could hardly even wait until 7:00 to call the primary in his favor. In today's day in age of caution with the use of exit polling and networks taking their time before declaring a race won, the fact that they called it immediately for Obama means this should be a huge victory for him, and one much needed to gain momentum going into February 5th.

What should be most concerning about today though, were comments made by former President Bill Clinton, as the Clinton campaign continues to try to marginalize Barack Obama as the "black" candidate. Their former adviser, and current nemesis, Dick Morris, has postulated that the Clinton's have tried to, through their comments on Obama's drug use, and drawing Obama in to a fight about race in America, have done that in order to scare off white voters from Obama, with the strategy being that if you can marginalize Obama as simply the "black candidate," white voters will abandon him and Clinton will win the nomination. And with pre-polling data showing that Obama had only 10% support in the white community, it seemed to have worked. Obama, though, according to the exit polls tonight, got 24% of the white vote, which while not great, is much better than anticipated, and will make it harder for the Clinton's to try to claim Obama only won because the votes of African Americans.

That doesn't stop the Clintons, and Bill specifically, from trying though. In what might be the most offensive comment yet from the Clintons, Bill tried explicitly tonight to get the word out that Obama was simply the "black" candidate. Asked a legitimate question about what it says about Obama that it took two Clintons to take him on, Bill's answer was a complete non-sequitor. He said "Well, Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in 1984 and 1988." It didn't answer the question, and even more so, it was an incredibly blatant attempt to say "South Carolina voters just vote for the black candidate so you shouldn't take what they say seriously." That's incredibly offensive. Yes, Jesse Jackson was a powerful candidate in the mid-1980s, but I think there's no dispute, Barack Obama is much different kind of candidate, and does have a broader appeal than Rev. Jackson. The fact that Bill Clinton would try to so explicitly to tie Obama to Jackson and in-so-doing raise the racial issue, especially after he went off on a reporter last week for even asking him about it, is amazing.

And obviously, the voters of South Carolina did not appreciate that kind of campaigning. The question is, how will the rest of the country feel?

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libhom said...

The Clinton smear campaign's tactics will result in a lot of votes for the Greens if Ms. Clinton wins the Democratic nomination.

Anonymous said...

Why not Obama is comparing him self to MLK JFK lincoln. Now he is jesse jackson. so what

sallreen said...

Obama is doing his best not to be painted by anyone else's brush, but in South Carolina, which he won 55 percent compared to Clinton with 27 percent and Edwards at 18 percent, in many ways he was forced by Clinton's camp to make clear he is black.
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