Political Animal


October 03, 2012 9:39 AM Barack Obama: Bigger and Blacker Than Ever!

By Ed Kilgore

I suppose I have to say something about the nastiness that emanated from conservative media yesterday about a previously chewed-over speech then-senator Barack Obama made in Virginia in 2007. The Daily Caller and Buzzfeed are arguing over who gets the “scoop” for unearthing a full video of the event, which Drudge hyped all day as some sort of “bombshell.” TPM’s Benjy Sarlin has the basics on this “story:”

Sean Hannity, The Daily Caller, and Drudge Report spent hours hyping a racially explosive secret video of President Obama. But the bombshell clip turned out to be a public speech from June 2007 that was covered by the major networks, including FOX News, at the time.
Excerpts of the open press speech to historically black Hampton University were already easily available (and quickly discovered by reporters after Drudge teased the clip on his website hours before the “new” Daily Caller/Hannity clip even aired). But Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson claimed the video was relevant because it contained additional ad-libbed portions that went off the prepared remarks.
Among the sinister revelations Drudge, Hannity, and Carlson cited: Obama’s use of what they considered an overly African-American cadence to his voice in front of the majority. “This accent is absurd. This is not the way Obama talks,” Carlson said on FOX. Drudge Report teased “THE ACCENT” and “THE ANGER” as scoops.
Hannity, who was a leading figure on the right in promoting Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright as a story in 2008, also pointed to Obama acknowledging Wright as “friend and great leader” at the event. As was widely reported at the time, the two were close until Obama disowned him later that year over his continued inflammatory comments.

So what we seem to have here is a combination of (a) an effort to produce a “secret video” featuring Obama to cancel out the continuing baleful impact of Romney’s “Boca Moment,” and (b) an excuse to get another image of the Scary Black Man with his Scary Black Preacher into the campaign narrative, despite the absence of any new examples to cite.

Some conservative gabbers are also professing themselves aggrieved at Obama’s suggestion that African-Americans were unhappy about the exceptionally slow response of the Bush administration to conditions in post-Katrina Louisiana. Others probably understand Katrina is not something conservatives should be reminding voters of at this or any other juncture.

In any event, in the broad sweep of anti-Obama hysteria, yesterday’s brouhaha was like the release of a new porn video in the middle of a porn convention: a small cheap thrill for those afflicted with a taste for this kind of stuff, and just another reminder of the inevitable downside of freedom of speech for the rest of us.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • MAE on October 03, 2012 9:50 AM:

    OMG! Obama is black! But not only that, he's really, really black! And sometimes he consorts with other black people! And they talk about issues that affect black people! Oh, the humanity! [Clutches at pearls and faints on couch.]

  • Ronald on October 03, 2012 9:50 AM:

    we've been talking about this for weeks around here.
    "There's a N****r in the White House!" is going to be the Republican talking point from here to the election.
    This was as close as they've gotten so far.

  • c u n d gulag on October 03, 2012 9:56 AM:

    OH, NO'S!!!
    Obama and Rev. Wright!!!

    2008 Redux.

    I guess there's no news, like old news.

    Ok, this will further inflame the base, which is already a 5 Alarm Fire - but any true "Independents" heard all of this crap 4 years ago, and still voted for Obama.

    I keep waiting for the "Whitey Tape" to drop.

    Maybe they need to dig up Breitbart, and check him for that video.
    Maybe he had it on him, when he keeled over, and they buried him with it.

    Check his pockets - and any airline whiskey bottles found in his pockets, will have aged a few more months, so, 'Bottom's up!"

  • K in VA on October 03, 2012 10:06 AM:

    The only thing worse than the combination on the right of intense racism with cynical exploitation of racists is the utter refusal of the national press to report on that racism.

  • stormskies on October 03, 2012 10:06 AM:

    These stupid cretins like Drudge with the ever spinning red light on his sick website are like little children at an Easter egg hunt shrieking from the discovery of one egg after the other.

    They are deeply psychologically sick individuals who probably have erection problems that they need to compensate for through their compulsive, and hysterical, racing from one 'bombshell' after the other to tear down Obama.

    Maybe that spinning red light on the Drudge report actually signifies when that cretin does manage to get an erection.

  • Celui on October 03, 2012 10:10 AM:

    Astonishing! Pandering to the most vile of behaviors-racism in all its guises-has become the last-minute rallying cry of a failing campaign. Why not trot out that older white TV couple from the anti-Clinton healthcare era? It's all part of the plantation-mentality voter-suppression smear campaign that began with McConnell's first-week proclamation to make Obama a 'one-term President', bolstered by the Boehner demands for R solidarity no matter what good might be accomplished for citizens, paired with R&R's Randian proposals and simplistic refusals to answer to their claims, and now it's become this: grasping at racially divisive straws to further alienate the American voters. Advice to the GOTPers: watch out for the fruits of your efforts--ain't nothin' like havin' it come back and kick your asses time and again in the future! Let's see: Detroit, South LA, Atlanta--what am I forgetting????

  • BillFromPA on October 03, 2012 10:15 AM:

    I can't wrap my mind around the mentality that responds to this sort of tripe. I know people come in all types, but these cretins seem not to be fully formed humans. I realize that this is just a substitute for calling Obama a n@@@@r, but that just shows that in their black souls they think this is an effective tactic, that this will move voters who planned to support the Pres. over to Mittens. I can't grasp that.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on October 03, 2012 10:22 AM:

    "...yesterday’s brouhaha was like the release of a new porn video in the middle of a porn convention..."

    Maybe I'm misunderstanding the analogy, but this seems more like releasing a porno from 2007 at a 2012 convention. Nothin' that we ain't seen before.

    The GOP are really running on fumes. I thought Obama The Blackest was supposed to be the worst president in all of Christendom. But it seems like the clowns on the Right are having a hard time finding evidence from 2008-2012 to support their claims. Losers...

  • citizen_pain on October 03, 2012 10:32 AM:

    The right can come up with a million rationales as to why Obama continues to lead in the polls by larger and larger margins, but the bottom line is this:

    1) Obama is simply smarter than most of the right wing pols. He has a better strategy, better tactics, a better understanding of issues, and he identifies with voters on a more natural, interpersonal level.

    2) People simply aren't buying what the GOP is selling. Snake oil salesmen eventually have to leave town because people realize the product is bunk. This is what has happened to the GOP.

    These two items, coupled with the fact that he's a half black man with a foreign name, has pushed the right over the edge. Look for more overt racism and an uptick in violence as the election draws near.

  • Anonymous on October 03, 2012 10:38 AM:

    Oh, yeah? Well, I bet if it came out that Romney sat is a racist church for 20 tears you liebruls would be all over it! Tweet of the Year!

  • Diane Rodriguez on October 03, 2012 10:38 AM:

    Lord have Mercy! The rancid stink of desperation is easy to sniff out.

  • Walt French on October 03, 2012 10:49 AM:

    "...just another reminder of the inevitable downside of freedom of speech for the rest of us."

    Actually, this post is an excellent example of the first amendment at work: a wingnut theme is perused, found to be exactly what it is, and dismissed in a couple of minutes.

    Rather than festering in some dank basement convention of "patriots" who think they need to overrule the ballot box to save democracy from itself.

    (That, plus a scrap of schadenfreude/entertainment value for those of us who like to sneer at people who Don't Get It.)

  • Ron Byers on October 03, 2012 10:55 AM:

    Next they are going to remind us that while he is black the President's mother was white, that the President likes basketball, and has rhythm and that he needs to sleep a lot. Oh, I forgot Gingrich did that on Fox News yesterday.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on October 03, 2012 11:07 AM:


    Ed's "a" scenario in which republicans are desperately trying to cancel out Mitt's 47% video is the right one.

    Like the failed "redistribution" video that was hyped right before it, this is another crack at an increasingly desperate attempt at damage control.

  • James E. Powell on October 03, 2012 11:17 AM:

    What's bad is that reporters and news directors will still dance for Drudge. And the fact that this latest was nothing will not stop them from jumping the next time Drudge calls.

    What it means is that the corporate press/media are looking for something, anything, that will either slow Obama's momentum or boost Romney's. They want a horse race and if they can't get one they will create one.

  • Anonymous on October 03, 2012 11:23 AM:

    @Ron Byers

    You left out the part where Gingrich says of Obama, "he really is a lot like the substitute referees in the sense that he's not a real president".

    Even cats can now hear the racist dog whistles coming from the GOP.

  • Hmmmmm on October 03, 2012 1:18 PM:

    What's next from the right? A scary new Osama bin Laden video?

    Oh wait...

  • Anonymous on October 03, 2012 1:32 PM:

    "the two (Wright) were close until Obama disowned him later that year over his continued inflammatory comments"

    I understand why politically Obama had to do this, but as someone who did a lot of research on Wright and his comments (seeing how they were presented out of context, and in what context he *did* make them) and then wrote a newspaper op-ed defending Wright (I am white, btw), I was disappointed in Obama. He left me hanging out to dry, as they say. Not that I'm anyone important, but many people I know read my op-ed and had opinions of me afterwards, not all positive, of course. And then Obama repudiated Wright (and in turn, me).

    In Wright's infamous Press Club speech (wherein I did disagree with Wright, in that, white people DO know to clap on beats 2 and 4, not 1 and 3, lol) and the Q&A afterwards, I first read the Q&A and didn't see anything wrong with what he'd said. It was viewing the video afterwards with his facial expressions that made it seem so "angry".

    Previous to the Press Club speech, Bill Moyers had Wright on his TV show and Wright was most impressive and calm and Moyers seemed to appreciate his views. I wonder if Moyers also feels betrayed by Obama's repudiation of Wright.

  • Amusing Alias on October 03, 2012 1:37 PM:

    I was most impressed by the content of the video. Five years ago stories about the hopelessness of black society were common. Today polls show they are the most hopeful group in America.

    This is a problem Obama solved single-handedly. Until I saw this video I hadn't even considered that aspect of his presidency, but it explains the 0% support for Romney better than anything else.

    By showing this video in a negative light Repubs are saying, "Look, Blacks are no longer hopeless. We need to change that."

    I hope that part of the message get picked up by the MSM.

  • OKDem on October 03, 2012 1:38 PM:

    Bringing up Katrina, LOL!

    So by Oct 30 we will be hearing how Rove is shoveling money into the battleground states of Louisiana and Mississippi.

    Please Faux Noise keep digging that hole faster!

  • joe from Lowell on October 03, 2012 1:46 PM:

    (a) an effort to produce a “secret video” featuring Obama to cancel out the continuing baleful impact of Romney’s “Boca Moment,” and (b) an excuse to get another image of the Scary Black Man with his Scary Black Preacher into the campaign narrative

    They're putting this out at 9PM on the night of the first presidential debate.

    (c) a shiny object to waive in front of the media in order to reduce the damage they expect Mitt Romney to do to himself in the debate.

    Remember when the Republicans rolled out the Palin nomination the morning after Obama's acceptance speech, in order to step on the coverage? Same thing. Even if this story completely and utterly flops, it will step on the coverage of the debate.

    Which says something about their level of confidence about Mittens' performance.

  • T-Rex on October 03, 2012 3:50 PM:

    Joe Biden observed during the 2008 primary season that Obama could slip in and out of black dialect at will. Some regarded that as a clumsy remark by Biden, but few seemed to think it reflected badly on Obama. So not only have they got hold of a story on which Biden scooped them four-plus years ago, but they've gotten hold of a "scandal" that didn't bother the public.

  • Yellowdog on October 03, 2012 6:05 PM:

    Sad and pathetic. Just another day in the well-paid life of the right-wing media...

    It is another appeal to outrage--and it will work with the same crowd it always works with.

    There is a moderate chance that it is a gambit to draw Wright himself back before TV cameras, saying something new or upsetting about Obama. They are poking the spurned Wright in the ribs, no doubt hoping he will answer with some sort of intemperate and newly newsworthy comment late in this contest. The preacher may well feel a need to answer all the scorn he has received--in his view unjustly. Alas, if he does make a statement, Hannity and company will contort it immediately for new use. A new Wright statement would give them some new material--and new reason to rehash all the old stuff, hitting the secret-radical-Obama theme for the ten-thousandth time. When that gets musty, they will find old Bill Ayres again. This line still works with those it always works with--and they like to hear it. However, it does not generate a lot of new fans. Hannity is like an aging pop group, playing the same old hits year after year, to the same old crowd that wants to hear nothing else. They love it, but everyone else has moved on.

  • 4jkb4ia on October 03, 2012 10:47 PM:

    OMG! Obama uses African-American cadence in front of black audiences! The Republic cannot survive!