The crowd at Obama’s victory party tonight chanted, “Race doesn’t matter!” That’s a bit disingenuous, since Obama won over 80% of the African-American vote in South Carolina, and only around a quarter of the white vote. So race was obviously a decisive factor. No doubt that’s what CNN meant when it headlined, “Exit polls: Obama won across demographic lines”.
Still, the sentiment is a good one, even if it doesn’t reflect current reality in the Democratic Party. Less noble was Bill Clinton’s effort, as reported by Jake Tapper, to type-cast Obama as a latter-day Jesse Jackson:
Said Bill Clinton today in Columbia, SC: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.”
This was in response to a question about Obama saying it “took two people to beat him.” Jackson had not been mentioned.
Tapper suggests that this is race-baiting, which I think is fair. I’m no fan of Obama, but it is ridiculous to equate him with Jesse Jackson.
With hindsight, it seems clear that Bill did his wife no favors by playing the heavy in South Carolina. It will be interesting to see whether he backs off between now and mega-Tuesday.
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