This is one of those "video moments" on which I cannot take a position but also cannot let pass unnoticed. Dear reader, please go to the two following websites and decide for yourself. Is Sen. Barack Obama using his middle finger, while talking about Sen. Hillary Clinton, on purpose— or was it an accident?
The Los Angeles Times first ran a blog entry about Obama's North Carolina appearance last night. The video was posted on YouTube and linked to by a Times blogger. The initial responses from readers were quite negative. Here's the link to the blog entry.
The Times ran a version of the video shot on a cellphone or some consumer (as opposed to professional) video device. It shows Obama talking about Clinton attacking him in Tuesday night's debate, while he raises his middle finger to his right cheek, apparently to scratch his face. But maybe not.
ABC News had a TV crew at the rally that videotaped the scene with a wider angle and clearer picture. The ABC version shows the reaction of people attending the rally.
If Obama did this on purpose, it's a sign of incredible immaturity. If he did it by accident, it's a sign of inexperience. If a president were to make an accidental gesture like that while talking about a foreign leader, for example, it could cause a global uproar.