President Obama doesn't believe that racism is much of a factor in the wave of opposition to his policies evident at rallies and other protests around the country this summer. Obama acknowledges that many Americans oppose his ideas on healthcare and other issues, but he disagrees with those who see racism at play, a senior Obama adviser told U.S. News.
Obama, the first African-American president, still feels a strong sense of approval and affection from the crowds that he speaks to, a replication of the positive attitudes he felt from voters, both white and black, during the campaign. Obama believes that any racist sentiment against him is held by a very tiny minority that doesn't reflect the attitudes of the vast majority of Americans, the senior Obama aide says. Obama tells friends that the American people have been very "welcoming" to him, and he gets the feeling that they are still rooting for him to succeed.
The media, including CNN, Fox News, columnist Maureen Dowd of The New York Times, and writers in the blogosphere, are raising questions about whether the anti-Obama movement is tinged with racial prejudice. Some critics have also questioned whether Republican Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina would have disrupted President Obama's address to Congress last week—calling Obama a liar—if the president had been white.