Hillary Clinton's strategists are delighted at what they consider Barack Obama's latest stumble in the hypersensitive world of racial politics.
Obama is drawing a new round of criticism for his comments on a Philadelphia radio sports program yesterday in which he said his grandmother is a "typical white person" who has fears about black men. He was attempting to explain a portion of his speech on race earlier this week—specifically, the statement that his white grandmother gets nervous when a black man approaches her on the street.
Obama told the radio host, "The point I was making was not that Grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, you know, there's a reaction that's been bred in our experiences that don't go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that's just the nature of race in our society." Obama was already drawing flak for his association with a controversial preacher in Chicago who has made anti-American and antiwhite comments.
An Obama spokesman noted that the Illinois senator was trying to say that his grandmother has the same fears shared by many in her "generation."
Clinton insiders say Obama's remarks stereotyped whites in a negative way and will further alienate white working-class people around the country, including those in Pennsylvania, which holds a key primary April 22. Obama's remarks are being criticized on Fox News, NBC, MSNBC, and elsewhere in the media, keeping the controversy going. Clinton strategists say it's part of a broader problem—that Obama has not been sufficiently "vetted" and there are many areas of his life and background that have escaped scrutiny and might embarrass him later.
—Kenneth T. Walsh