Race Card Politics

Now on the defensive, the Obama campaign is pushing back against the suggestion that it is playing the race card. Jonathan Martin reports that an Obama spokesman denied that Obama was talking about race when he accused Republicans of wanting to scare voters by reminding them that he doesn’t “look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills.” Meanwhile, Marc Ambinder writes that:

Obama “doesn’t have the typical biography that others do,” and he “doesn’t come to this the way that others did,” says his chief message maven, Robert Gibbs. And that’s what Obama means, Gibbs says, when he points to the faceplate of currency.

This is totally absurd. He didn’t say, that he “came form a different background than all those other Presidents on those dollar bills,” he explicitly said he didn’t look like the other presidents.

Furthermore, this isn’t an isolated example. As I noted below, Obama said on “Meet the Press” this past Sunday that, “I don’t look like previous commanders in chief.” Back in June fundraiser, Obama predicted, “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?”

During the Democratic primary, Obama could get away with such comments, because his constintuency was composed mainly of blacks and upper class white liberals who were sympathetic to such grievances, whether or not they were true. Now that he’s trying to appeal to a broader electorate, playing the race card is a huge blunder.