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Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I am hoping that this will turn out to be much ado about nothing, but in case it's not it's worth considering exactly what he said (as opposed to the one sentence sound bite). Via, here's his offending statement in full:

"I think it's fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre ... they're misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to white working-class don't wanna work -- don't wanna vote for the black guy. That's ... there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today -- kind of implies that it's sort of a race thing.

"Here's how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn't buy it. And when it's delivered by -- it's true that when it's delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.

"But -- so the questions you're most likely to get about me, 'Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What is the concrete thing?' What they wanna hear is so we'll give you talking points about what we're proposing -- to close tax loopholes, uh you know uh roll back the tax cuts for the top 1%, Obama's gonna give tax breaks to uh middle-class folks and we're gonna provide healthcare for every American.

"But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

"Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you'll find is, is that people of every background -- there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you'll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I'd be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you're doing what you're doing."

Now, check out this clip of him making the exact same point to Charlie Rose in 2004.

I really hope this topic will just go away, but in case it doesn't it's worth knowing what he actually said.

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