Consider this progress. Four years ago, it was The One himself smearing McCain from the stump by warning that his opponents would try to make an issue out of the fact that he doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency. This year, he’s content to let Biden do the racial pandering while offering him political cover as necessary by playing dumb.
Biden’s comment sparked Romney to call the Obama campaign one of “division and hate and anger.” But Obama, speaking to PEOPLE in Dubuque, Iowa, seemed unrattled by the controversy. He said Biden’s words needed to be considered in context; that he was only saying “you, consumers, the American people, will be a lot worse off if we repeal these [Wall Street reform] laws as the other side is suggesting.”
“In no sense was he trying to connote something other than that,” Obama added.
Pressed to say whether Biden’s wording was unfortunate or something he’s okay with, the president sighed. “The truth is that during the course of these campaigns, folks like to get obsessed with how something was phrased even if everybody personally understands that’s not how it was meant,” Obama said. “That’s sort of the nature of modern campaigns and modern coverage of campaigns. But I tell you, when I’m traveling around Iowa, that’s not what’s on people’s minds.”
I can’t believe there’s a person on either side who watched the clip of Biden, heard “they’re” become “they,” “going to” become “gon,” and “you” become “y’all” — all in service to an embarrassingly overwrought metaphor about “chains” — and doesn’t think he was engaged in an excruciatingly condescending racial pander. It’s one thing for liberals to acknowledge the pander and defend it, as sleazy as that might be. But let’s please be big boys and girls and agree on what he was obviously, patently trying to do. Biden himself all but acknowledged it this morning when he said he’s often criticized for saying exactly what he means, and that he’ll never change. Fair enough. He’s owning it. Time for O to stop pretending, especially since he’s capable of far more subtle racial appeals to black audiences than Vice President Doofus stooped to yesterday. He knows exactly what Biden was doing. He just doesn’t care.
Here’s former Democratic Congressman — and Obama campaign co-chair — Artur Davis lowering the boom on Biden on CNN today. Not a huge surprise given that Davis is now a Republican who’s campaigning for Romney, but a righteous clip nonetheless. My only quibble is that he gives Obama far too much credit for his own allegedly positive tone; as noted above, Bambi is by no means above using racial politics to help his cause, especially if he’s got a willing surrogate to do the dirty work for him. When you’re done here, go watch Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder hit Biden hard on Fox News this afternoon too. I think he lets Biden off easy — the point of yesterday’s shtick wasn’t to “joke about slavery” but rather to make Romney and Ryan somehow complicit in the practice — but whatever. The more heat O takes from Democrats on this, the more he’ll think twice about sinking even lower. Exit quotation from Paul Ryan: “We’ve gone from hope and change to anger and division and blame and attack. I think people are going to see through this.”