Monday, August 4, 2008

More People Think Obama’s Comments Racist than Do McCain’s

Original Link:

By LisaB

1) While many people were wringing hands over the racist / nonracist McCain ad comparing Obama to vacuous celebrities, Rasmussen was doing a poll on what viewers thought.

Viewers largely thought it was NOT racist.

Read the rest ->

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the nation’s voters say they’ve seen news coverage of the McCain campaign commercial that includes images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and suggests that Barack Obama is a celebrity just like them. Of those, just 22% say the ad was racist while 63% say it was not.

But, you say, what did those viewers think of Obama’s response to McCain’s ad?

However, Obama’s comment that his Republican opponent will try to scare people because Obama does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills was seen as racist by 53%. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree.

Here’s the breakdown among whites and AAs (remember, no other ethnic/racial groups count. . . ):

Not surprisingly, the McCain ad generates significantly different perceptions along racial and ethnic lines. Most African-American voters—58%–saw the McCain ad as racist. Just 18% of white voters and 14% of all other voters shared that view.

As for Obama’s comment, 53% of white voters saw it as racist, as did 44% of African-Americans and 61% of all other voters.

It’s looking like the McCain camp called this one right. So, instead of calling this racism, I’m thinking we’ll simply hear of more “disappointment” and/or “cynicism.”

2) A poll finds Oklahoma not exactly Obama territory.

3) The WaPo tells some truth. Deborah Howell, the WaPo ombudsman, has an article saying the paper published far more pictures of Obama than of McCain. In addition, those pictures are more likely to be of Obama smiling and McCain with a serious face.

What we found: 122 photos of Obama have been published in the paper during that time to 78 for McCain, counting tiny to big. Most of those photos ran inside the paper; most on the politics page. The Page 1 photos are closer: Obama had nine to McCain’s seven. Five of Obama’s were above the fold; McCain had four. Obama also got more color photos, 72 to 49, and more large photos — mostly those that spanned three or more columns, 30 to 10.
Ed Thiede, assistant managing editor for the news desk, said that the numbers are “eye-opening. We should be more cognizant.” Du Cille and Thiede were both surprised at the numbers. Du Cille said, “The disparity in the numbers is indeed hard to reconcile. As photojournalists, we always strive to be fair. We have tried to be balanced, but it seems that in a large operation such as ours, we need to monitor the use of political images even more closely.

Readers look at photos when they don’t read stories. But Obama leads in stories since June 4, too — 139 to 94. They were both featured in 23 stories. . .

But these kinds of discrepancies feed distrust on the part of readers, especially conservative ones, who already complain that The Post is all for Obama. Next week, I will examine the stories.

Let’s keep an eye out for this article next week. If nothing else, it should be VERY interesting.

4) Jennifer Rubin at Commentary has a very interesting take on why Obama isn’t doing better in polls. She qotes Charles Krauthammer quoting Dana Milbank, so this “presumptuous” meme is definitely making waves.

But the meat of her argument goes like this:

It is really three factors at play: Obama has gotten worse, John McCain’s campaign has gotten more aggressive in pointing out that Obama has gotten worse and Obama is no longer talking about the issues which were underpinning that huge advantage Democrats were thought to enjoy.

She adds:

It’s the last point which has liberal supporters stumped. What happened to the laser-like focus on the economy? What happened to the non-stop message that John McCain is George W. Bush’s clone? These were lost in the audacity festival in Berlin and the aftermath of the trip ( e.g. the soldier snub gaffe). But even before that, between the securing the nomination and the overseas trip, the major campaign storylines have been: Obama’s flip-flops, Wesley Clark slurring McCain, Hillary Clinton voters still upset, Obama’s repositioning (kind of ) on Iraq, the success of the surge, and the faux seal and the arrogance meme.

So Rubin says Obama isn’t driving the message. That’s assuming there is one to steer. Here at NQ we’ve said before that Obama’s policy statements have been awfully thin or clearly cribbed from other candidates. Now that’s really starting to show. When you’ve got nothing to say, it’s all about you. That can work until people begin to think the “you” ain’t so great. . .

5) Slate doesn’t like the off-shore drilling flip-flop any more than most of FL. The article calls both McCain and Obama on it, but falls a little harder on Obama for “change you can believe in.”

6) Time has a piece on “in the tank” media.

That McCain’s complaint [about Obama luv] is sometimes overstated and imprudent, however, does not mean that it is wrong. The political press corps has a problem when Jon Stewart lampoons reporters for being even more in the tank for Obama than he is.

The silver lining for McCain is that the media’s bias has sometimes backfired on liberals. . . Obama’s Reverend Wright fiasco was a case in point. Even though the two men had close ties, the press gave little scrutiny to the radical preacher for a year after Obama’s campaign began. When attention finally came, Obama gave a speech that tried to shift the focus from their relationship to the rest of the country’s racial wounds. He was rewarded with rapturous coverage. The next day, the New York Times ran a “news analysis” calling the speech “hopeful, patriotic [and] quintessentially American” and comparing him to John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. It took a few more weeks for Obama to realize that he had to take the final step and repudiate Wright.

Media bias poses only one serious danger to McCain. One of Obama’s standard tactics has been to predict that McCain would “play on our fears,” “exploit our differences” and stir up “fake controversy” to win this fall. It’s a clever move; it simultaneously paints McCain as a brute while making him think twice about hitting back–the harder McCain hits, after all, the more it will look as though he is stirring up fake controversy. Too many reporters have bought that spin, and that’s a problem. McCain doesn’t need reporters to fall out of love with Obama. But he does need to be allowed to make the case against the Democrat.

And one should be able to make a case without being called racist at every turn. Wonder if Time has read the Rasmussen poll?

7) And to the DNC rulz czars? Time to check out the undercarriage of the Obama express. No doubt you’ve heard about Obama wanting to fully seat those wayward states - Michigan and Florida - after quite the dustup earlier this year when those states’ voters were effectively disenfranchised.

Well, the caucus blog at NYT has this to say:

At the same time, Mr. Obama’s “request” to restore full voting strength to Florida and Michigan is likely to cause heartburn for party officials, who have struggled to maintain some authority over the primary calendar.

By granting Mr. Obama’s request, the party will essentially be giving a green light to other states to ignore the calendar next time because there will be no consequences.

However, I think the blog missed the mark here:

The whole subject remains a sore point with some Clinton supporters. But Mr. Obama’s letter today seems timed to try to minimize any damage, coming almost two months after Mrs. Clinton threw her support to him and after it appears unlikely that she will be his choice for vice president.

“Timed to try to minimize any damage, coming almost two months. . .” Minimize what damage? Clueless. Just another Senator Britney opportunistic flip-flop designed to show calculation before class or integrity.

8 )George Will’s piece today has a couple of interesting bits about why Obama may be slipping.

But polls taken since his trip abroad do not indicate that Obama succeeded in altering the oddest aspect of this presidential campaign: Measured against his party’s surging strength in every region and at every level, he is dramatically underperforming.
Will attributes at least some of the slippage to eloquence ennui. Voters are simply tired of the vaulting rhetoric.

Even an eloquent politician can become, as Benjamin Disraeli described William Gladstone, “a sophistical rhetorician inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity.”

But Will also points out how that rhetoric helps Obama create the very image of him as self-absorbed and not really interested in America.

Does Obama have the sort of adviser a candidate most needs — someone sufficiently unenthralled to tell him when he has worked one pedal on the organ too much? If so, Obama should be told: Enough, already, with the we-are-who-we-have-been-waiting-for rhetorical cotton candy that elevates narcissism to a political philosophy.

And no more locutions such as “citizen of the world” and “global citizenship.” If they meant anything in Berlin, they meant that Obama wanted Berliners to know that he is proudly cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitanism is not, however, a political asset for American presidential candidates. Least of all is it an asset for Obama, one of whose urgent needs is to seem comfortable with America’s vibrant and very un-European patriotism, which is grounded in a sense of virtuous exceptionalism.

Will is conservative, so this column won’t get too much play. But he does make a logical argument for why Obama hasn’t “closed the deal.”

9) Fivethirtyeight, a website about polling has some notes for down-ballot Democrats.

In “Organizing Update”, fivethirtyeight covers how the political campaigns and parties are organizing offices and personnel across the states. As we’ve talked about at NQ, Obama has been taking the reins of the Democratic party by moving it to Chicago and using nearly all donations for his office run.

In Wisconsin, Obama has 15 offices open now, with 24 expected to be open by mid-August. The staffers are directly paid by Obama’s “Campaign for Change” organization. By contrast, Republicans have five party offices open that handle both McCain field work as well as the state leg. races, which somewhat dilutes the effort.

This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it’s actually a story we’re keeping an eye on. Though our idea about the timetable of campaign ramp-ups has been distorted by this nearly two-year presidential ordeal, most local races and even most congressional races are only barely beginning to coordinate their own field efforts. In this respect, it is unclear on the Obama side how the traditional coordination between presidential race field staff and downballot candidates will be carried off. The traditional vehicle is the coordinated campaign which can be funded by the national committees not subject to the same strict caps on individual contributions. This story will probably ripen post-convention when most of the other local campaigns begin to kick into gear.

I’m going to guess that down-ticket Dems may get some cash after the convention. But until then, it’s all about Obama. Well, since the generic Democrat runs quite well and Obama seems to be underperforming as a candidate, only keeping steady with McCain in a year any Republican should be relegated to sweeping confetti after the election, maybe he does need all the money.

Or maybe it costs an awful awful lot to rent that stadium in Denver.

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