Right wing gets self-righteous over Obama video

Conservatives on Tuesday used a speech President Barack Obama delivered as a candidate in 2007 to accuse him of using racially charged rhetoric.

“There’s no way you can listen to this speech and not hear it as a deliberately divisive speech that pits Americans against each other and does so largely with racial innuendoes that are very, very clear when you hear the speech,” former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said on Fox News, which aired segments of the videotaped speech.

At issue Tuesday, one day before the first presidential debate and as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney trails in polls, was a speech then-candidate Obama made to black clergy at Hampton University, a historically black institution in Virginia. Media outlets including The Associated Press and Fox News covered the remarks at the time.

Obama — now the nation’s first black president — said in the speech that the Bush administration did nothing to defuse a “quiet riot” among blacks that threatened to erupt in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Then a U.S. senator from Illinois, Obama also said the Bush administration “was colorblind in its incompetence.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity said the speech “contains some of the most divisive class warfare and racially charged rhetoric ever used by Barack Obama.”

Conservative pundit Tucker Carlson of The Daily Caller, which posted video of the speech online, argued that the speech features “racial rhetoric designed to make people fearful.” And The Drudge Report, a regular Obama critic, predicted the video would “ignite accusations of racism — in both directions!”

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt quickly dismissed the criticism, accusing “Mitt Romney’s allies” of recirculating video of a widely covered speech in “a transparent attempt to change the subject” from Romney’s comments about 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes.

Romney’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. The Republican previously distanced himself from a conservative group considering an advertising campaign featuring Obama’s former spiritual adviser, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., whose race-related sermons stirred controversy in Obama’s first campaign.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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3 Responses to "Right wing gets self-righteous over Obama video"

  1. Almandine  October 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Interesting, in that neither the AP writer nor the Obama spokesman could deny or refute the accusation, instead just throwing rhetorical rocks at “conservatives” who had the gall to notice and comment on the speech.

  2. egc52556  October 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Almadine — some accusations aren’t worth refuting. Bush’s response to Katrina DID disproportionally harm people of color. Bush’s response to Katrina WAS incompetent. The reaction from blacks is FAIRLY described as a “quiet riot”.

    Do the Republicans REALLY want to reopen their administration’s response to Katrina now? Do the really think this is going to be a winner for them?

    If they really think so, we’ll have a very nice time talking about the GOP’s incompetence right now in 2012.

  3. Almandine  October 4, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    The point of the article was, of course, a focus on the tone and mudslinging of BHO’s speech, which then and now is seen as merely another of his divisive political ploys to make himself appear as ever the friend and champion of the common man, no matter how far from truth that be. My comment was aimed at the public revelation of that juxtaposition.

    For anyone, even now, to make the argument about Bush 43 and his personal decision-making with regard to emergency preparations and relief efforts vis-a-vis Katrina is just another chapter in the politics of opponent bashing and points to the continuing ideological chasm between what 43 was actually, personally responsible for and what people like yourself find as grist for your ideological mill.

    It is a good thing, though, that the emergency relief funding bill that BHO voted NO on, just 10 days before his speech referenced in the article above, passed anyway, since those funds were sorely needed for Katrina disaster relief and beyond.

    In retrospect, one must ask of BHO… doesn’t it take a special kind of hubris to get up and talk like that when your own actions were in direct opposition to preparing for disaster and could have, if others hadn’t taken proper precautions, caused a relief debacle far greater than actually occurred?

    And in consideration, who was actually the bigger incompetent?

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