Video: Obama on Farrakhan

posted at 12:47 pm on February 27, 2008 by Allahpundit

Problematic? There’s a lot going on: Her Majesty’s hamfisted attempt to parse Obama’s statement, leading to nothing more damaging than a laugh line at her expense; Russert’s dopey follow-up question, which does both too much (anti-semitism by two degrees of separation) and too little (failing to probe him more about his pastor); and the usual leftist white-noise indignation afterwards that such a subject would even be broached, per the many Pretty Vicious Rants and Important Action Alerts that have descended upon us this a.m. It’s not surprising that an NRO correspondent or a hardcore Hillary partisan would find the Messiah’s answer overly nuanced, but check this out. Heart-ache among the apostles?

10.09 pm. Farrakhan. Does Obama understand that saying he has consistently denounced him is not the same as simply saying, “I denounce him”? A weak response – reminiscent of Dukakis. (By the way, why is it somehow only a question for Jewish Americans that Farrakhan is a fascist hate-monger? It’s a question for all Americans.) Obama’s Farrakhan response suggests to me he is reluctant to attack a black demagogue. Maybe he wants to avoid a racial melee. But he has one. He needs to get real on this. Weak, weak, weak. Clinton sees an opening and pounces. She wins this round. He is forced to adjust. His worst moment in any debate since this campaign started. I’m astounded he couldn’t be more forceful. His inability to say by himself, unprompted, that Farrakhan’s support repels him and he rejects it outright really unsettles me.

I have not believed that Obama has an ounce of sympathy for a creep like Farrakhan. But Obama has now made me doubt this. If David Duke called John McCain a good man, would McCain hesitate to say he’d rather Duke opposed him? If this is how Obama wants to tackle this emotive issue, he needs to get real.

Or, as Althouse puts it, “He’s creating the space for Farrakhan to operate separately, bringing him support.” Exactly, and exactly what Hillary was trying to insinuate, but after Billy Jeff’s Jesse Jackson moment and the “shuck and jive” comments that trickled out of her camp last month, she’s too shy to swing hard on a subject involving race. Best case scenario if she had: She gets accused again of trying to paint Obama as the “black candidate” by implying that he’s too cozy with Farrakhan. Worst case scenario: She alienates black voters who are soft on Farrakhan by attacking him too harshly, something that’s clearly weighing on Obama here too. So she went about halfway, to the middle of the road — and got squashed. Good work.


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Mark my words.

THIS is the moment Hillary lost the nomination.

faraway on February 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Tim, you betray me with a question? You know not what you do. Thankfully, the Vatican is investigating the latest in a series of Obamiracles.

Exurban Jon on February 27, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Obama’s “Minister” lives in Chicago, and so will Obama next February
Obama never actually rejects the “Minister’s” present support

Barack Obama was fatally wounded in the general election tonight, or was it when he remained in his hate America church’s pew the first time his pastor or his pastor’s minister preached hate after he and Michelle’s butts warmed the pews.

The relevant part of the debate:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Obama, one of the things in a campaign is that you have to react to unexpected developments. On Sunday, the headline in your hometown paper, Chicago Tribune: “Louis Farrakhan Backs Obama for President at Nation of Islam Convention in Chicago.”

Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?

SEN. OBAMA: You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can’t censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.

Five sentences and he doesn’t answer a yes/no question with the obvious “no”. He does, however, refer to the racist with the honorific of “Minister”, not once, but twice. He compliments the minister on his pride in an African-American. How sweet.

MR. RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?

Tim understands that his fellow Democrat has not answered the question.

SEN. OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can’t say to somebody that he can’t say that he thinks I’m a good guy. (Laughter.) You know, I — you know, I — I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements, and I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments.

Still won’t say “no”! Repeats that the minister likes him. Mentions that he has denounced the minister in the past, but still does not answer Tim’s initial question

MR. RUSSERT: The problem some voters may have is, as you know, Reverend Farrakhan called Judaism “gutter religion.”

Tim realizes that Obama still has not rejected the minister’s support now.

OBAMA: Tim, I think — I am very familiar with his record, as are the American people. That’s why I have consistently denounced it.

This is not something new. This is something that — I live in Chicago. He lives in Chicago. I’ve been very clear, in terms of me believing that what he has said is reprehensible and inappropriate. And I have consistently distanced myself from him.

Now, we are at thirteen sentences and Obama still has not rejected the minister’s support now. We do now know that the minister lives near him.

RUSSERT: The title of one of your books, “Audacity of Hope,” you acknowledge you got from a sermon from Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the head of the Trinity United Church. He said that Louis Farrakhan “epitomizes greatness.”

He said that he went to Libya in 1984 with Louis Farrakhan to visit with Moammar Gadhafi and that, when your political opponents found out about that, quote, “your Jewish support would dry up quicker than a snowball in Hell.”

RUSSERT: What do you do to assure Jewish-Americans that, whether it’s Farrakhan’s support or the activities of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, your pastor, you are consistent with issues regarding Israel and not in any way suggesting that Farrakhan epitomizes greatness?

Tim gives up on the direct approach and gives Obama a chance to denounce two hatemongers, i.e. his own pastor and the minister.

OBAMA: Tim, I have some of the strongest support from the Jewish community in my hometown of Chicago and in this presidential campaign. And the reason is because I have been a stalwart friend of Israel’s. I think they are one of our most important allies in the region, and I think that their security is sacrosanct, and that the United States is in a special relationship with them, as is true with my relationship with the Jewish community.

And the reason that I have such strong support is because they know that not only would I not tolerate anti-Semitism in any form, but also because of the fact that what I want to do is rebuild what I consider to be a historic relationship between the African-American community and the Jewish community.

You know, I would not be sitting here were it not for a whole host of Jewish Americans, who supported the civil rights movement and helped to ensure that justice was served in the South. And that coalition has frayed over time around a whole host of issues, and part of my task in this process is making sure that those lines of communication and understanding are reopened.

But, you know, the reason that I have such strong support in the Jewish community and have historically — it was true in my U.S. Senate campaign and it’s true in this presidency — is because the people who know me best know that I consistently have not only befriended the Jewish community, not only have I been strong on Israel, but, more importantly, I’ve been willing to speak out even when it is not comfortable.

When I was — just last point I would make — when I was giving — had the honor of giving a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in conjunction with Martin Luther King’s birthday in front of a large African-American audience, I specifically spoke out against anti- Semitism within the African-American community. And that’s what gives people confidence that I will continue to do that when I’m president of the United States.

I defy anyone to identify where Obama rejects “Minister” Louis’s support in Baracks’ opus above or in his later exchange that the MSM is focused on after the above (see link)

Full Debate Transcript

The exchange with Hillary is too vague to be an explicit rejection of Louis’s endorsement.

The correct answer to Russert’s initial softball question of,

“Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?”

was “NO”!

Tim expected to hear “no”; tried to lead him to “no”; but never heard “no”.

Instead we heard Obama twice repeat, with smiles, that his pastor’s hero likes him; twice heard him refer to him with honor as “minister”; and found out they are neighbors and that he hasn’t always agreed with him.

We never heard him reject his support.

Obama is a leftist, far outside the mainstream of most Americans, including most rank and file democrats, I suspect. His devil will be in the details. Two huge details are now exposed with him on the record with equivocation.

But given that he has attended a black nationalist, separatist hate America church for two decades, he can’t hide.

And thanks to McCain-Feingold, even of McCain were to think it improper to expose this creepy vile church association, he can’t stop the 527’s from doing so.

Thank God for Free Speech!

For more than 14 months I have been confident that the GOP will retain the presidency given that the Dems are openly running as leftists.

Now we see the details of exactly why.

John McCain won the debate.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer

al on February 27, 2008 at 12:54 PM

I don’t tend to get caught up in lofty rhetoric by scummy politicians in the first place, but this clip is a classic case — what do you who admire this clown Obama see in him?

Every time he is challenged, he goes to the classic “liar” characteristics; every other word is ‘umm’, he blinks like Pelosi, he blubbers and stammers. He’s a TelePrompTer actress.

Jaibones on February 27, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Mark my words.

THIS is the moment Hillary lost the nomination.

Nah. If Hillary loses the nomination it’s because of Bill Clinton’s remarks in S. Carolina.

terryannonline on February 27, 2008 at 12:58 PM

When Russert starts to quote Farrakhan, Obama leaps in to stop him. Can’t hear those words tonight, Tim!

Jaibones on February 27, 2008 at 12:59 PM

Just a shucking and a jiving.

Sugar Land on February 27, 2008 at 12:59 PM

How He Won it [Stephen Spruiell]

Have you ever seen a candidate extract himself from such a maddeningly stupid argument so adroitly? He read viewers’ minds — we were all thinking, “What’s the difference between ‘denounce’ and ‘reject?’” — and made Hillary look silly for trying to create a distinction. It’s this seemingly effortless ability to rise above the tedious semantics of American politics that makes Obama so difficult to attack. Even if you play better than him, he’s better at mocking the game. McCain’s got his work cut out for him.

al on February 27, 2008 at 1:04 PM

This sounds like Obama is having a Ron Paul moment.

That didn’t work out well for Paul.

Obama could just say that he does not need his support just like Paul could have said he does not need or want the Neo Nazi support but he danced.

btw, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl32Y7wDVDs,
Specifics on Obama’s Foreign Policy. Scary.

jharada on February 27, 2008 at 1:06 PM

McCain: Uh, Senator Obama, We’re Already Fighting Al-Qaeda In Iraq

From the AP:

TYLER, Texas (AP) _ Republican presidential hopeful John McCain mocked Democrat Barack Obama on Wednesday for he saying he would take action as president ”if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq.”

”When you examine that statement, it’s pretty remarkable,” McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas.

”I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq,”’ McCain said, drawing laughter at Obama’s expense.

McCain said he had not watched the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night but was told of Obama’s response when asked if as president he would reserve the right to send U.S. troops back into Iraq to quell an insurrection or civil war.

Obama did not say whether he’d send troops but responded: ”As commander in chief, I will always reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests. And if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq, then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad.”

Charlotte Hays notes that Obama didn’t say, “If I thought that was going to happen, I wouldn’t pull out,” and argues that Obama essentially conceded he would re-invade if the withdrawal made things worse.

al on February 27, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Nah. If Hillary loses the nomination it’s because of Bill Clinton’s remarks in S. Carolina.

I’d list all of the specifics but I don’t have a couple of hours to spare.

fogw on February 27, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Gotta share that skeptical feeling she’s apparently got.

funky chicken on February 27, 2008 at 1:10 PM

Or, as Althouse puts it, “He’s creating the space for Farrakhan to operate separately, bringing him support.” Exactly, and exactly what Hillary was trying to insinuate, but after Billy Jeff’s Jesse Jackson moment and the “shuck and jive” comments that trickled out of her camp last month, she’s too shy to swing hard on a subject involving race.

Good analysis.

Nah. If Hillary loses the nomination it’s because of Bill Clinton’s remarks in S. Carolina.

terryannonline on February 27, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Completely agree.

Spirit of 1776 on February 27, 2008 at 1:11 PM

HRC was HORRIFICALLY TROUNCED in this most boring debate. She had a chance to take this thing by the horns and kick Obabma’s ass.

Instead, she whined that she gets called on first all the time, that Obama is coddled by the press which has been coddling her for the last 15 or so years and that Obama didn’t use the right words about denouncing and opposing or whatever…..

She had an opening for a brief moment and let it go….

so very…UNpresidential. Days are numbered for HRH Hillary.

Then…to top it all off….she regrets her Iraq war vote because it wasn’t the right thing to do…immediately alientaing all the US armed forces and 25 million free Iraqi citizens.

You go Hillary!….go right home…real soon.

wildweasel on February 27, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Oh…and YES they ARE PIMPING their daughter. And it ISN’T WORKING!

wildweasel on February 27, 2008 at 1:18 PM

After John Batchelor’s remarks on Live Desk, it appears Obama is going to have to ‘splain much more away than Farrakhan.

Connie on February 27, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Obama handled the question very well, and Hillary came across as a worst kind of opportunist.

freevillage on February 27, 2008 at 1:21 PM

Nah – this stuff is all a few bad swings when she’s already several runs down in the late innings. She could and should have been scoring off Obama a long time ago, before he got into his rhythm. But even that presumes she ever had it in her to win.

If Hillary’s herstory, it’s because she’s a relatively stiff and unappealing campaigner, was politically and ideologically too close to a much more appealing alternative candidate, and opted early for an above-it-all frontrunner’s strategy when she needed to nip Obama in the bud, even at the risk of looking a little mean. Instead, she long ago let the idea settle in that he was a more electable candidate, and, even more this year than in ’04 when it was also determinative for the out-of-power Dems, that killed her chances.

This stuff could have knocked Obama out early. It may still hurt him, but it’s a lot more likely to benefit the Mav than her.

CK MacLeod on February 27, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Presidential candidates quake at the prospect of rejecting and denouncing the leader of the Nation of Islam. Fear of alienating Black voters and Muslims.

As England falls to the Muslims, so, too, will America. Political correctness, or, more specifically, thoughtcrime, will cause the Balkanization [huge sectors of non-English speaking, illegals from Mexico and Muslims who reject in toto our system of jurisprudence] and destruction of our country.

Matthew 12:25 – …, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

When our politicians are muzzled, when the People are muzzled – we are lost.

OhEssYouCowboys on February 27, 2008 at 1:23 PM

I’m confused… why did Russert ask the question about Farrakhan in the way that he asked it? I’ve been reliably informed by Aristotle and others on Hotair that the appropriate way to ask such a relevant and thoughtful question was to repeatedly refer to Barack as “Barack Hussein Obama” at the most awkward and innappropriate times without explicitly asking a question, in the style of a 3rd grader taunting another on the playground!

DaveS on February 27, 2008 at 1:27 PM

A principled Hussein could have stood up and harshly rejected Farrakhan (and all like him) and his support, demanded his apologies, and demanded him to step down from any association with him and his church (and denounced his church leadership while he was at it).

Of course he can’t because Hussein is “open” to the likes of Farrakhan and it wouldn’t agree with his future openness to sharia creep, Sharpton/Jackson/Nagan race-baiters, having “talks” with Ahmadinejad, and other such disgraceful behavior the US will be subjected to during his term.

Hussein will have to stay on course and “not reject” Nazi ideology, KKK, and the like to have any credibility. This will be very sad to see all the future double-talk and hypocrisy of this unprincipled loser and his race-baiting 1st lady.

nottakingsides on February 27, 2008 at 1:28 PM

al, I hope that column is correct!

funky chicken on February 27, 2008 at 1:28 PM

OhEssYouCowboys on February 27, 2008 at 1:23 PM

You’re 100% right!

England has already fell..just not everyone is aware of that yet. The fact is 2/3rd’s of U.K. is atheist now(AP ponders moving) and the bishops are promoting sharia law!

Bye Bye England.

The question now is who will stand after America falls?
(islamic caliphate?)

SaintOlaf on February 27, 2008 at 1:35 PM

The best part is that everybody is treating this guy with kid gloves. I’ve watched my president, and a great vice-president get savaged for almost eight years from cartoon shows, sitcoms, and rhetoric supporting our enemies at the expense of a cheap shot at these two men. Every nut not locked-up has come out against the administration with a mic shoved in their face by the MSM.

This clown is treated like he’s above criticism. Weak, and dangerous tactics during an election not to mention sickening. At least if he wins, some camps can pat themselves on the back for fighting fair.

Hening on February 27, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Does Obama understand that saying he has consistently denounced him is not the same as simply saying, “I denounce him”?

Silly words games. Obama is just trying to demonstrate he is being diplomatic. The president needs sometimes to work with people or groups that are offensive in some way, that’s just the real world. At the end he did finally say, “I reject and denounce him.”

pedestrian on February 27, 2008 at 1:38 PM

Obama could have knocked this one out of the ballpark. He should have said: “Unlike Hillary Clinton, I would not have remained silent when Suha Arafat said the Israelis were poisoning Palestinian children deliberately. I would not have kissed Suha Arafat on both cheeks after Suha made those shameful remarks as did Hillary. I would not have waited a week until I was safely back in Washington before condemin those remarks. And I would have condemned those remarks publicly, not via a statement released by the White House press office”. Had Obama done this, Hillary would have been toast.

Larraby on February 27, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Have watched and rewatched the clip. There’s no way to interpret it but that Obama was very uncomfortable criticizing Farrakhan. He probably knew the follow-up was going to be about his own pastor and his close ties to Farrakhan. This should be a deal-breaker for any reasonable Obama supporter. If you can’t vigorously reject — yes, reject — Louis Farrakhan, and say you want him to have nothing to do with your campaign and you’d really appreciate it if he would never utter your name again, you have no business applying for the job of POTUS. Can you imagine if Bush was endorsed by the likes of David Duke and he said “Golly, gee, I can’t help it if a feller likes me and all…” Ridiculous.

Rational Thought on February 27, 2008 at 1:41 PM

Oh how I wish Fred! was able to debate Barry O and call him on his bull$hit. His answer was weak; he danced around the issue without stating unequivocally that he rejected/denounced Farrakan and his support. Shrillary started down the right path but chickened out and fumbled the opportunity. Fred! would have laid it out there for Barry O: do you reject Farrakan? and forced him to either answer yes or dance. I hope McCain has the nads to stand up to the empty suit.

Mallard T. Drake on February 27, 2008 at 1:42 PM

(By the way, why is it somehow only a question for Jewish Americans that Farrakhan is a fascist hate-monger? It’s a question for all Americans.)

This is the same ploy of the newspapers, who make it a point to only publish critical letters to the editor regarding “Palestine” penned by people with Jewish-sounding names. Shame on Russertt and Hillary for pulling the punch. The American people however caught it.

PattyJ on February 27, 2008 at 1:44 PM

THIS is the moment Hillary lost the nomination.

faraway on February 27, 2008 at 12:49 PM

It’s been over for some time. The telling thing, as related on Rush’s show today, was that Russert was treating Clinton like a Republican last night instead of his usual “Larry King like” softballs.

I’m with Novak in pondering, who tells Hillary it’s time to hang the bumblebee suit up and go back to the Senate and her dull pants suits.

highhopes on February 27, 2008 at 1:44 PM

whoa video–Obama on how he’s going to slash the military

http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=483

funky chicken on February 27, 2008 at 1:49 PM

Poor Hillary, she’s just plain outmatched.

ronsfi on February 27, 2008 at 1:54 PM

With the MSM on your side, anything is possible. It’s an American Idol audience out there and they all love Obama.. Pretty scary to say the least…

Travis1 on February 27, 2008 at 2:07 PM

But I have no doubt, as president, even though technically the meetings may be with the man who is labeled as president, the decisions will be made by Putin.

RUSSERT: Who will it be? Do you know his name?

CLINTON: Medvedev — whatever.

benrand on February 27, 2008 at 2:16 PM

These are interesting times. In 2000, the president was decided in Florida. In 2008, it may all be decided in Texas/Ohio.
Both Dem candidates look worse under scrutiny.
McCain may actually have a chance.
“OBAMA: Tim, I have some of the strongest support from the Jewish community in my hometown of Chicago and in this presidential campaign. And the reason is because I have been a stalwart friend of Israel’s.”
I doubt every word he says.

Doug on February 27, 2008 at 2:20 PM

I talked to someone at work who is not normally really political but he and his wife watched the debate and they just couldn’t believe either of those two could become President.

But then, he also thinks Barry will be “Ron Browned” if he wins.

benrand on February 27, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Obama denounces AND rejects Farrakhan’s antisemitic comments, but what about his HATE-WHITEY comments? Farrakhan has said on many occassions that the BIGGEST PROBLEM the black man faces is WHITEY.
I want to hear a repudiation of those comments too Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.

jimbo2008 on February 27, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Give me a personal break here! If Obama truely rejected or denounced Farrakhan’s endorsement or beliefs, Obama would reject his pastor and would still not be attending his church.

Both Barack and Michelle seem to me as racists period.

His inability to even see that the war in Iraq is serious and what we are facing are grounds to denounce him as presidential material. How Americans, black and white can’t see this is astoundingly absurd to me.

McCain made a great comment back to Obama’s unintelligent statement last night “he would take action as president if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq.” McCain said “I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called `al-Qaida in Iraq.”

And Obama want’s to be our President. America wake up!!

Conservatives R Us on February 27, 2008 at 2:47 PM

Hillary screwed up on this. She should have demanded that Obama fire his Nation of Islam employees and promise not to have any in his White House. This word-parsing was stupid and petty and it came off that way. She really would have hung him on the issue of his key NOI employees, which I exclusively wrote about. The Hillary people told me they are aware of the story and have pitched it to the MSM, but none will pursue it.

Debbie Schlussel on February 27, 2008 at 3:31 PM

Obama denounces AND rejects Farrakhan’s antisemitic comments, but what about his HATE-WHITEY comments? Farrakhan has said on many occassions that the BIGGEST PROBLEM the black man faces is WHITEY.
I want to hear a repudiation of those comments too Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.

jimbo2008 on February 27, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Why does Obama have to apologize for everything Farrakan says?

BlackCapitalist on February 27, 2008 at 3:35 PM

Obama’s problems run far deeper than Loony Louis Farrakhan. Here’s the New York Times on his mentor and minister, Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

This is not a church he was raised in, this is a church that Obama chose to join as an adult. How can he argue that he was inspired by Wright’s “Audacity of Hope” message, but not inspired by Wright’s afro-centrist, anti-semitic, anti-American, anti-middle class message?

Indeed, there are plenty of Socialist-themed churches which preach social justice and other leftist crapola which Obama could have chosen, if that was truly his concern.

These criticisms have nothing to do with religion BTW, but have everything to do with ideology.

Buy Danish on February 27, 2008 at 3:48 PM

Damn hate to admit it but the guy can think on his feet. He just made Hillary look like a fool at the end there with the “reject and denounce”. He’ll be without words though when McCain calls him “my friend”.

bagadeez04 on February 27, 2008 at 4:08 PM

Tim, you betray me with a question? You know not what you do. Thankfully, the Vatican is investigating the latest in a series of Obamiracles

Haha now that is some funny stuff…and I thoght all the Obamessiah stuff was just schtick.

bagadeez04 on February 27, 2008 at 4:17 PM