Is Obama Black Enough? Huh?

Howard Kurtz brought this one up on Meet the Press. Gwen Ifill had to leave a different question on the table to answer the charge and asked "is

gwenifill.jpghowardkurtz.jpg Howard Kurtz brought this one up on Meet the Press. Gwen Ifill had to leave a different question on the table to answer the charge and asked "is she black enough?"

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Kurtz: The only storm cloud on the media horizon has been something that’s picked up speed in the last week or so, was mentioned on “NBC Nightly News” on Friday, and that is this notion of is he black enough to get support in the African-American community, and if he is—isn’t is that because he’s trying to either please white people. And so the novelty and the challenges of being a serious African-American candidate for president, the press is just starting to grapple with, I believe.

MS. IFILL: Well, probably. But before I get to that, Tim, I really have to respond to the comment that Howie made about the black enough story. I—you know, I, I guess I could paraphrase Lloyd Benson and say, “I covered Jesse Jackson, I know Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama is no Jesse Jackson.” But what I mean when I say that is people seem to set up this really interesting test for Barack Obama of blackness, which I have found absent in any other dialogue involving people who clearly appear to and identify and work in the black community, and I—I’m not quite certain where it comes from. As you know, Tim, I’m, I’m the son of West Indian immigrants. I, I don’t know if because I’m not the son of African-Americans—the daughter, that is, of African-Americans who are born in this country that makes me less black. So I’m a little puzzled about this discussion. I don’t know quite what, what—where it’s coming from, other than maybe some folks who haven’t been invited to the party. (full transcript below the fold)

MR. HOWARD KURTZ: Clearly you just wore him down, Tim, he got tired of saying no to you. He figured he may as well run or he’ll just keep getting these questions. Look, I haven’t seen a politician get this kind of walk-on-water coverage since Colin Powell a dozen years ago flirted with making a run for the White House. I mean, it is amazing. You know, you, you could say the chord that he has touched in the country, but also in journalists, but, at the same time, a guy with all of two years experience in the United States Senate getting coverage that ranges from positive to glowing to even gushing. He hasn’t even taken a mild hit yet except for that what turned out to be a bogus story in the conservative magazine Insight about he—when he was six years old he attended a madrassa, a fundamentalist Muslim religious school, supposedly spread by Hillary Clinton’s camp. Turned out to be totally untrue on all fronts. The only storm cloud on the media horizon has been something that’s picked up speed in the last week or so, was mentioned on “NBC Nightly News” on Friday, and that is this notion of is he black enough to get support in the African-American community, and if he is—isn’t is that because he’s trying to either please white people. And so the novelty and the challenges of being a serious African-American candidate for president, the press is just starting to grapple with, I believe.


↓ Story continues below ↓

MR. RUSSERT: Gwen Ifill, is there now a second phase of the coverage of Barack Obama where reporters and voters will start demanding from him real specifics on the real challenges confronting our country and world?

MS. IFILL: Well, probably. But before I get to that, Tim, I really have to respond to the comment that Howie made about the black enough story. I—you know, I, I guess I could paraphrase Lloyd Benson and say, “I covered Jesse Jackson, I know Jesse Jackson, Barack Obama is no Jesse Jackson.” But what I mean when I say that is people seem to set up this really interesting test for Barack Obama of blackness, which I have found absent in any other dialogue involving people who clearly appear to and identify and work in the black community, and I—I’m not quite certain where it comes from. As you know, Tim, I’m, I’m the son of West Indian immigrants. I, I don’t know if because I’m not the son of African-Americans—the daughter, that is, of African-Americans who are born in this country that makes me less black. So I’m a little puzzled about this discussion. I don’t know quite what, what—where it’s coming from, other than maybe some folks who haven’t been invited to the party.

I thought this would be Tucker's take on Barack after he said his church was too black....Anyway, I disagree on a point Howard made. Obama has been attacked repeatedly by CNN, MSNBC and others just over his name and the clothes he wears before his official announce came down the pike. Oh, and there's this...

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