Posted by Curt on 2 August, 2008 at 7:58 am. 17 comments already!

The Obama campaign tripped, and tripped hard, over the race card they tried to play over the last few days. Now even they are admitting the fact.

First off lets look how this whole thing started:

John McCain’s campaign manager is accusing Barack Obama of unfairly using the issue of race, a significant accusation in a campaign featuring the first African-American major party nominee.

“Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck,” said Rick Davis, in a statement issued from the McCain campaign. “It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

Yesterday in Missouri, Obama predicted McCain and the GOP would use racially tinged attacks against him.

“What they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me,” Obama said. “You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

They denied this was playing the race card at first, which was foolish.

Senator Barack Obama is a man of few rhetorical stumbles, but this week a few of his words opened a racial door his campaign would prefer not to step through. When Senator John McCain’s camp replied by accusing him of playing the race card from the bottom of the deck, the Obama campaign seemed at least momentarily off balance.

The instinctive urge to punch back was tempered by the fact that race is a fire that could singe both candidates. So on Friday the Obama campaign, a carefully controlled lot on the best of days, reacted most cautiously as it sought to tamp down any sense that it was at war with Mr. McCain over who was the first to inject race into the contest. Mr. Obama made no mention of the issue, except for a brief reference in an interview with a local newspaper in Florida.

“I was in Union, Mo., which is 98 percent white, a rural conservative, and what I said was what I think everyone knows, which is that I don’t look like I came out of central casting when it comes to presidential candidates,” he told The St. Petersburg Times. “There was nobody there who thought at all that I was trying to inject race in this.”

Baloney. Anyone reading that statement would understand the hidden meaning. I guess they finally understood this and finally admitted it:

When pressed to explain the comment, Axelrod told “GMA” it meant, “He’s not from central casting when it comes to candidates for president of the United States. He’s new to Washington. Yes, he’s African-American.”

Nothing new.

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said on Friday he expects Republicans to highlight the fact that he is black as part of an effort to make voters afraid of him.

“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

The WaPo saw right through the whole episode and asked the Obama campaign for some examples of McCain “race based” attacks. All they got back was crickets:

First, Obama campaign officials, lacking any example of McCain ever pointing directly or indirectly at Obama’s race as an issue in the campaign, have backpedaled rapidly away from any suggestion that their Republican opponent is using the very tactics Obama suggested on Wednesday.

Campaign manager David Plouffe was pressed hard during a conference call on Thursday for examples and could not point to any. An inquiry to the Obama campaign later in the day produced no immediate response and later no answer to a direct question asking for evidence to buttress Obama’s suggestion that McCain would try to scare people into not voting for Obama because he’s black.

So basically the Obama campaign tried its best to do what they did to Clinton. Smear the person as a racist. They didn’t expect McCain to hit back so hard tho I suppose. The WaPo explains:

Before all this happened, McCain advisers believed that the Obama campaign successfully pinned a racist label on Bill Clinton during the during primaries — for comments that drew protests from some leading African American politicians — and were determined not to let the same happen to McCain. Also, they take personally any suggestion from the Obama campaign that they are part of a campaign that would play the race card and are indignant about it.

Good for them. Obama still doesn’t understand that this election is not about race but about his lack of character, his lack of judgement, his arrogance and ego, and his Marxist policy beliefs. Those issues will do him in, not race.

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