Just Another Guy with Opinions

Barack Obama Attracts Attention

Posted by shadmia on May 8, 2007


Since declaring his candidacy for President Barack Obama has seen his popularity soar. One poll even had him ahead of Hillary Clinton, the once-assumed Democratic nominee for President. He has proven his ability to match her in fundraising and popularity. He has also attracted the attention of others who see him as a threat. Because of this Barack is the first candidate in the race to be placed under the protection of the US Secret Service.

Obama’s status as the first African-American with a realistic chance of winning the presidency highlights the ambivalent state of racial tolerance in the country: Even as he attracts massive and adulatory crowds, he also inspires hateful remarks and threats that carry distinct racial undertones.

An example of this racial component is evident in a parody that was popularized by Rush Limbaugh called “Barack the Magic Negro”. This is a parody sung to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon and features an Al Sharpton impostor complaining about Barack’s popularity with whites saying he is “Black, but not authentically” like Snoop Dog, or me, or Farrakhan. Barack, when asked how he felt about the parody, said “I don’t mind, I don’t mind, I don’t mind folks poking fun at me,” Obama said. “That’s part of the job.”

Even though Barack doesn’t take this incident seriously enough to make an issue out of it, there are other circumstances that have given rise to some concern. The U.S. Secret Service determined that the Illinois senator merited a special security detail and assigned one not only to him but to his house in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood. The decision followed recommendations from Obama’s colleagues in Congress, including Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who had reviewed, among other things, racist Web postings and letters.

“Unfortunately, many of the things that concerned me had a lot to do with race,” Durbin said last week. “I wish we lived in a country where that is not a problem, but it still is. And the fact that Barack Obama is such a highly visible African-American candidate, I think, increases his vulnerability.”

On a more positive note, Oprah Winfrey announced her support for the Obama Presidential campaign. This marks the first time that the influential TV personality has endorsed a political candidate. In an interview on “Larry King Live” on CNN, she said she was backing the senator “because I know him personally.

“I think that what he stands for, what he has proven that he can stand for, what he has shown was worth me going out on a limb for,” Ms. Winfrey told Mr. King on Tuesday. “And I haven’t done it in the past because I haven’t felt that anybody — I didn’t know anybody well enough to be able to say, ‘I believe in this person.’ ”

This of course was welcome news to the Obama campaign which issued the following statement: “Barack Obama has tremendous respect for the kind of role model Oprah Winfrey is for young women like his two daughters, and he is honored to have her support”

Obama’s appeal has also crossed the political divide. Former Republican supporters even some of President Bush’s ex-political allies have endorsed Barack Obama. These include Tom Bernstein, went to Yale University with Bush and co-owned the Texas Rangers baseball team with him, Matthew Dowd, Bush’s chief campaign strategist in 2004, Robert Kagan, a leading neoconservative and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, John Canning, a “Bush pioneer” and investment banker and John Martin, a Navy reservist and founder of the website Republicans for Obama among many others. Celebrities have also declared for Obama, here is a clip of some endorsements:

Here is a video from the Obama ’08 campaign:

Barack’s wife Michelle offers the following testimonial to him:

“His name was Barack Obama, and I thought, ‘Well, I’m sure this guy is weird, right?” Obama said, to laughter. When she found out he grew up in Hawaii — “Spent his formative years on an island. And I thought, ‘Well you’ve got to be a little nuts. “Obama said she quickly changed her mind after their first conversation.”I realized we had more in common than we thought,” she said. “Like you I am desperate, so desperate for something different,” she said. “I think that Barack Obama can do that, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be here. I’d make him do something else.”



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