Paul Mirengoff @ Powerline:
The Daily Caller has obtained and posted video (video below) of a 2007 speech by Barack Obama in Hampton, Virginia. Speaking to an audience of black ministers, and using a black dialect only marginally more authentic than Joe Biden’s, Obama claims that the U.S. government shortchanged Hurricane Katrina victims because of racism. As the Daily Caller says, “the effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event.”
Obama’s factual claims about alleged shortchanging of Hurricane Katrina are false. Obama states:
Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt twenty months later, there’s a law, federal law — when you get reconstruction money from the federal government — called the Stafford Act. And basically it says, when you get federal money, you gotta give a ten percent match. The local government’s gotta come up with ten percent. Every ten dollars the federal government comes up with, local government’s gotta give a dollar.
Now here’s the thing, when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, ‘This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars.’ And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, ‘Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family.’
What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money? Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!
But as the Daily Caller points out, by January 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. This was more than five times the money that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after 9/11.
Moreover, says the DC, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its New Orleans reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before Obama’s speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.
So here’s what Barack “No Red America, No Blue America” Obama, the great racial unifier, did at Hampton. He charged the U.S. government with racism based on false claims about the response to Hurricane Katrina.
And Obama did not limit his accusation of racism to the federal government. For Obama, white racism is pervasive; it is, to use the central metaphor of the Hampton speech, a bullet that blacks carry in their body from the time of birth. This “bullet” of racism, says Obama, explains the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.