Barack Obama has said that an “independent inquiry” into the conduct of Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong is “needed.” Nifong is the prosecutor whose mishandling of the case against the three Duke lacrosse players may have been criminal.
Obama reportedly made that statement in response to a letter from a constituent. Obama noted that Rep. Walter Jones has already requested such an inquiry and that he “will be following its progress closely.”
I’m not sure that Nifong’s misconduct ought to be a federal matter, but Obama’s heart seems to be in the right place on this one.
Political calculation presumably entered into Obama’s statement. Criticizing a prosecutor for overzealousness in a case involving a black woman who made false rape allegations against white males will remind people that Obama is not a race-baiting ambulance chaser in the Al Sharpton-Jesse Jackson mold. But I don’t think Obama has ever been perceived that way.
This appears to be a case of a smart candidate refusing to let his race stand in the way of taking a sensible (federalism concerns aside) and popular position.
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