One of the lines from Obama’s “Lincoln-esque” race speech Tuesday that critics have seized on as one of his worst lines was the remark he made about his grandmother and alleged bigoted remarks she made about a black man who passed her on the street:
“I can no more disown [Rev. Wright] than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
610 WIP host Angelo Cataldi asked Obama about his Tuesday morning speech on race at the National Constitution Center in which he referenced his own white grandmother and her prejudice. Obama told Cataldi that “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know – there’s a reaction in her that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. What makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling less like that. And that’s pretty powerful stuff”
Tom Maguire notes a discrepancy:
“[S]omebody on the street that she doesn’t know”? Kidding? That special “somebody” was a black man in the original telling. So where are we – the “typical” white person reacts the wrong way when they see a black person on the street?
Steve Sailer, who has read and reviewed BO’s book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, provides some background on the incident BO was referring to. It’s a lengthy post, and you should read it in full, but Sailer posts a summary at the end (h/t: GP):
Well, no, according to Obama’s 1995 book, it is not at all true that she “once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street.” Instead, she once confessed her fear of one aggressive black beggar who didn’t pass by her but instead confronted her, demanded money, and then gave her — an intelligent, level-headed woman who had worked her way up to a mid-level corporate management position — good reason to believe he would have violently mugged her if her bus hadn’t pulled up.
If this was some doofus politician like Bush or Biden who retold the story in a misleading fashion, you might view it as just their usual struggle with using the English language to get across what they really kind of, sort of mean. But Obama is so superb with words that it’s perfectly reasonable to hold him accountable for choosing to slander his own living grandmother for his political advantage.
I can’t add anything to that, but I do have one question to ask in response to this story: Can you imagine the outcry if Hillary Clinton or John McCain, or any other mainstream white candidate uttered the words “typical black person”?
Flashback: Bill Clinton meets Rev. Wright … in 1998.
Update 1 – 8:40 PM: What the heck?
Two contract employees of the State Department were fired and a third person was disciplined for accessing passport records of Sen. Barack Obama “without a need to do so,” State Department officials confirmed to NBC News.
The three people who had access to Obama’s passport records were contract employees of the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, NBC News has learned. The unauthorized activity concerning Obama’s passport information occurred in January.
“A monitoring system was tripped when an employee accessed the records of a high-profile individual” a department official told NBC News. “When the monitoring system is tripped, we immediately seek an explanation for the records access. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the supervisor is notified.”
Enquiring minds want to know: why were they doing this? Political reasons, or just curiosity?
Update 2 – 9:32 PM: The State Dept. is saying it was just curiosity. Hmmm.
Update 3 – 10:38 PM: How’s this for shameless demagoguery?
“This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years. Our government’s duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes,” Burton said.
“This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama’s passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach,” he said.
Got that? It’s the Bush administration’s fault, because in the past they’ve supposedly had “little regard” for security and privacy. Before accusing the Bush adminstration of doing this, why not wait for the facts? Because, like pLamegate, it’s better to throw the allegations out there from the get go to give the base some much-wanted red meat. Not only that, but the accusation will get people’s minds off of Rev. Wright.
Also, via Allah, I read that Jim Geraghty is speculating on whether or not the breach could be connected to Hillary, for reasons I was thinking about after I read about this happening. In light of the release of Hillary’s First Lady schedules, the Clinton campaign is being hit on charges that the schedules prove her claims of foreign policy experience have been vastly overstated, and Hillary and her supporters have been eager to show that Obama hasn’t visited overseas in any official capacity much at all during his time in the WH.
Liberal blogger Josh Marshall adds more fuel to the fire:
[… ] the breaches occurred Jan. 9th, Feb. 21st and March 14th.
That would be the day after the New Hampshire primary, the day of the Democratic debate in Texas and the day the Wright story really hit.