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Sweet: Obama, Clinton try to put lid on injection of race in campaign.


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The view near the Centennial Hills Community Center, where former President Bill Clinton stumped Monday for his wife. (photos by Lynn Sweet)

LAS VEGAS, NV.--In a series of network interviews and at a press conference in Reno on Monday, Barack Obama sought to put the brakes on the growing conversation--in the political media--about whether remarks by the Clintons and some surrogates were racially insensitive.

Former President Bill Clinton was up at 4 a.m. on Monday to call into three radio shows with African-American audiences to do-- I'm calling it damage control for lack of a better phrase.

Meanwhile, by the end of the day, both Obama and Clinton tried, in statements, to get the emphasis away from race. Obama called a press conference because, he said, "I wanted to take the time to talk to all of you a little bit because I have been a little concerned about the type of campaign you have heard over the last couple of days."

Obama also said, "I think over the last couple of days you have seen a tone on the Democratic side of the campaign that I think is unfortunate and what I want to do is just to stipulate a couple of things.I think that I may disagree with Senator Clinton or Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals.We’re all Democrats, we all believe in civil rights we all believe in equal rights. We all believe that regardless of race or gender that people should have equal opportunity.

I think that they are good people they are patriots—and that they are running because they think they can lead this country to a better place and I don’t want the campaign at this stage to degenerate into so much tit for tat back and forth that we lose sight of why all of us are doing this and it is because of some of the people who I met here today who are losing their homes or struggling with healthcare or don’t have enough money to help their children and I am worried that may get lost."

Asked if the Clintons have shown racial insensitivity in the last few days?

Obama said, "you know I don’t want to rehash that. Here is what I can tell you. I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think that they care about the African American community and they care about all Americans. And they want to see people of equal race and equal justice in this country. And that is something I am convinced of and I want to make sure that the American people understand that is my assessment."


“Over this past week, there has been a lot of discussion and back and forth - much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts.

“And at this moment, I believe we must seek common ground.

“Our party and our nation is bigger than this. Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women's rights movement, workers' rights movement, and other movements for justice in America.

“We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes - President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King – Senator Obama and I are on the same side.

“And in that spirit, let's come together, because I want more than anything else to ensure that our family stays together on the front lines of the struggle to expand rights for all Americans.”


I am sick and tired of the clintons and their thug behavior.
I hope Hillary loses badly because it would send a message that her repugnant behavior is not tolerated anymore.
This campaign has been marred by the actions of the Clintons. They have been excused for it for far too long and it's time they start to take responsibility for their actions and be held accountable for them.
I will never, ever give my vote to Hillary if she is the nominee.

It seems to me that Obama could defuse the whole racial controversy easily by emphasizing that he is of mixed racial heritage, and giving just due to the maternal side of his family, who raised and educated him. Instead he chooses to let the focus stay on his father, who had virtually nothing to do with his upbringing, and his African heritage. His step Grandmother living halfway across the world gets primetime coverage, while his biological Grandmother living here at home is scrubbed from the prospectus.

Finally back to the issues! Australians seem to have had a similar debate as ours concerning change vs. experience.

Obama has tried to make race a none issue. He avoided commenting on it until Sunday and the first thing Hillary says on Meet the Press is that he is trying to make it an issue. This comes after surrogates of her campaign have made a lot of "questionable" statements that in some cases have resulted in loss of that campaign worker's job. Either these surrogates are trying to sabotage her campaign or they are doing the dirty work for her. I think it’s the latter. You would think with as much "experience" as she has that she would be able to run a campaign without using these type of desperate tactics. I want her to tell me something about her record instead of trying to attack other candidates in every type of way. Obama and Edwards seem to understand that being negative and divisive is not something this country needs or wants. If her politics of change includes race baiting then she is someone I could never support. I would rather have the politics of “HOPE” that wants to unite all races.

I have to say, it's the media, not the candidates over-reacting to the so called injections of race.


There is something very wrong with the Clinton's. They ask black people to support them, then they (Bill and Hillary) manipulate the media so that race becomes an issue (South Carolina) so that they may somehow get blacks to turn their backs on Obama's legitimate campaign, or to turn out more white voters. They are polarizing people. Hillary has now defamed the achievements of Dr. King. Bill called Obama's campaign a fairy tale.

Now today, Hillary has that photo op in New York speaking to a large black audience at a Martin Luther King service. She changed her tone and inflection to somehow give the impression that she is, "one of you."

Where is the DNC? Black-Americans should make it loud and clear to the Democratic Party, stop taking us for granted, and we will not vote for Hillary Clinton.

It’s time for Al Gore and Teddy Kennedy to repudiate the Clinton's and endorse Obama. John Kerry did so and now it's time to get past all the talk and pandering. Blacks have been the most loyal group in the Democratic Party. It is time to call for the type of support from the Democratic Party that it (Democratic Party) will need going forward; well beyond the life span of the Clinton's.

The days of just counting on the black vote has now ended. Blacks should think of caucusing with the Republicans!

Norcross, GA (Temporarily)

I was supporting the clintons until they decided to play dirty politics. The country has moved beyond race baiting, it won't work. I am now going to support Senator Obama.

There is not a Democrat running in the race that is not pandering to minorities and trying to prove themselves the savior of America for that reason. The media just expounds upon the candidates' endless dramatizing of the issue. I truly wish that the candidates would move on to the rest of the issues and let the voters decide for themselves. The media will give the race issue a rest when that happens, then they can concentrate on anointing their favorite candidate for the multitudes of drones out there.

Why pick anpother Dem.Obama has never done anything to prove he will be a good president.Iam voting for Mitt Romney cause everything he's tackled in the past has been sucessful.He's a proven leader that gets things done.Obama will be lost with all the responsibilies of the presidency.

Having lived in Las Vegas for over a year I know there is a large population of illegal foreign nationals, employed by the casino'a and the entertainment industry. Hopefully there is enough supervision to detect at the Nevada caucases illegal voting. The culinary union which I belonged to has thousands of workers, who are not legally in this nation and will without hesitation break any law to gain an advantage. According to the 2006 U.S. census, it is estimated there are 610,000 Latino's in Nevada. Voting is a citizens right, a privilege given to us by the U.S. Constitution. Looks like advocate judges are interpreting the law, as they see fit. Example allowing Caucases to be acceptable in a gambling Casino, where illegal aliens voting would be a travesty of our Democratic process. Does the law of Perjury apply in a Caucase environment, when it come to voting for a presidential nominee?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 14, 2008 7:12 PM.

Sweet: Clinton allies try to block Obama-friendly precinct voting in strip hotels. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: With race inserted into campaign, Obama, Clinton say enough is enough is the next entry in this blog.

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