View Full Version : Gallup: Obama's Big Race Speech Potentially Fixing Wright Situation

03-20-2008, 02:39 PM

Gallup: Obama's Big Race Speech Potentially Fixing Wright Situation
By Eric Kleefeld - March 20, 2008, 3:11PM

Today's Gallup tracking poll would seem to indicate that Obama's big speech on race relations might be starting to fix the damage from the Jeremiah flap.

Hillary Clinton is still ahead 48%-43%, not changed too much from yesterday's 49%-42% lead, but the pollster's analysis shows some movement happening within the daily samples:

Obama made a major speech on Tuesday addressing the race issue in large part to help move past the controversy. While Tuesday night polling showed no immediate benefit for Obama, the Wednesday results were more favorable to him, as reflected in the slight drop in Clinton's three-day average lead. This suggests at least the possibility that Obama has stopped his losses. The tracking data over the next several days will be a crucial indicator of the lasting impact, if any, of the Wright controversy.

03-20-2008, 02:44 PM
I'm still skeptical, but this interview on Nightline (which I guess out-rated Letterman and Leno) helped even further.


03-20-2008, 02:47 PM

Groups Respond to Obama’s Call for National Discussion About Race

The speech Senator Barack Obama delivered Tuesday morning has been viewed more than 1.6 million times on YouTube and is being widely e-mailed. While commentators and politicians debated its political success Wednesday, some around the country were responding to Mr. Obama’s call for a national conversation about race.

Religious groups and academic bodies, already receptive to Mr. Obama’s plea for such a dialogue, seemed especially enthusiastic. Universities were moving to incorporate the issues Mr. Obama raised into classroom discussions and course work, and churches were trying to find ways to do the same in sermons and Bible studies.

The Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of a mostly white evangelical church of about 12,000 in Central Florida, described Mr. Obama’s speech, in which the Democratic presidential candidate discussed his relationship with the former pastor of his home church in Chicago, as a kind of “Rorschach inkblot test” for the nation.

“It calls out of you what is already in you,” Dr. Hunter said, predicting that those desiring to address the topic would regard the speech as a spur, while those indifferent to issues of race might pay it little heed.

Dr. Hunter said the Obama speech led to a series of conversations Wednesday morning with his staff members. “We want for there to be healing and reconciliation, but unless it’s raised in a very public manner, it’s tough for us in our regular conversation to raise it,” he said.

The Obama speech was also a topic of discussion on Wednesday at the Washington office of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy and social welfare group. Hispanics can be white, black or of mixed race. “The cynics are going to say this was an effort only to deal with the Reverend Wright issue and move on,” said Janet Murguia, president of La Raza, referring to the political fallout over remarks by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., which prompted Mr. Obama to deliver the speech.

But Ms. Murguia said she hoped that Mr. Obama’s speech would help “create a safe space to talk about this, where people aren’t threatened or pigeonholed” and “can talk more openly and honestly about the tensions, both overt and as an undercurrent, that exist around race and racial politics.”

On the Internet and in many areas of the traditional news media, such a discussion was already taking shape. Some four million people watched Mr. Obama’s speech live, and it is now the top YouTube video.

The speech has stimulated passionate discussion on scores of blogs of varying ideological tendencies, and an article about the speech in The New York Times has provoked more than 2,250 comments.

On the ABC talk show “The View” on Wednesday morning, the co-hosts discussed the substance of Mr. Obama’s speech and its impact on the presidential campaign. “Finally we can talk about” race “without being afraid we are offending” others, one co-host, Barbara Walters, said, while Whoopi Goldberg said she “felt he was talking about stuff that we tiptoe around.”

Some conservative commentators, including Bill O’Reilly on Fox News, found positive elements in the Obama speech, which Mr. O’Reilly called “a mixed deal.” He criticized Mr. Obama for not repudiating Mr. Wright’s views in stronger terms but also said that Mr. Obama “was right that race remains an unresolved problem in America on both sides.”

There have been other efforts to stimulate a national dialogue on race. A commission on race relations was appointed in 1997 by President Bill Clinton with the historian John Hope Franklin as chairman. But that effort produced few concrete advances, and those who said they had been inspired by Mr. Obama’s speech said a different approach was needed.

“This has got to be more than a speech because these things don’t just happen spontaneously,” said Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the Jewish magazine Tikkun and a founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives.

“There needs to be some systematic, organizational commitment to making this happen, with churches, synagogues and mosques working out a plan for continued dialogue,” Rabbi Lerner said.

For some, the timing of Mr. Obama’s speech was awkward. Spring break at many universities foreclosed the possibility of immediate discussions in classes and informal settings, and many churches are locked in to traditional Easter services.

Nevertheless, said the Rev. Troy Benton, lead pastor at a church in Stone Mountain, Ga., near Atlanta, “I don’t see how you can be an African-American preacher and not try to figure out how to have something to say this Sunday, even though it’s Easter.”

Around the country, ministers of the United Church of Christ, which is Mr. Obama’s denomination, are recommending in Holy Week newsletters that their congregants read or view Mr. Obama’s speech.

One message, sent from the Union Congregational Church in Montclair, N.J., said, “No matter what your party affiliation or your political persuasion, the conversations about race that have been elicited by the campaign are important.”

The message also cited a brief prayer, “Lord, help me to remember we are all your children,” and expressed the hope that “we take the high road” in addressing the issue.

Tufts University is on break this week, but Jennifer Bailey, a student there and the president of a group called Emerging Black Leaders, said that when she returned to classes next week, she hoped to encourage a frank discussion about race that would involve all of the many racial and ethnic groups and ideological tendencies on her campus.

Mr. Obama’s speech “called everybody out, and that is absolutely healthy and necessary,” Ms. Bailey said.

“We need to have some sort of follow-up conversation,” she added, “even among those groups that do not interact on a daily basis, and this speech has created a space for that. Whether individuals choose to engage is their own choice, but the opportunity is still there.”

St. Edward’s University in Austin, Tex., is in session this week, and at Zak Fisher’s speech class Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s speech was discussed and analyzed, both for its content and as an example of persuasive and eloquent public discourse.

“We thought it was unprecedented,” said Mr. Fisher, a philosophy major. “We had never heard a politician be so open to the issue of race.

“It’s always very important to question your own beliefs and always re-evaluate where you may stand on issues, based on new evidence.”

He added: “I think that was the point of his speech.”

Reporting was contributed by Brenda Goodman in Atlanta, Staci Semrad in Austin, Tex., Brian Stelter and Sarah Wheaton in New York and Katie Zezima in Boston.

03-20-2008, 02:48 PM
Jon Stewart Gets All Earnest On Us! Obama Race Speech "Spoke To Americans As Though They Were Adults"


keg in kc
03-20-2008, 02:50 PM
I think the primary positive for Clinton out of all this is that it's deflected the attention from Hillary herself and forced it on Obama. As in, the more scrutiny he's under, the less attention people pay to her own negatives. Should be interesting to see just how willing (or unwilling) he or those under him are to throw mud her way, either in the open or through more clandestine means. I'd say it's in her best interest to stay on the offensive as long as possible. It's her only hope, really, if she even has any hope at all. The smoke-and-mirrors of politics.

03-20-2008, 02:54 PM
I think it was a GREAT speech, and hit every note that should've been hit. Talking to my wife about it the night before, I described some things I'd have liked to hear from him, including not simply talking about the anger of blacks who feel marginalized, but also whites. he nailed that.
I think reasonable people who take the time to listen to it can see that he's right in his speech on just about every note. He's not going to change the minds of the pateeu's of the world, or the memyself's of the world, whose minds are already completely made up that he's a horrible person, and those that support him are simply weak-minded and being duped. But, like I said, a reasonable person can find very little fault, and IMO, much to be inspired by in that speech.

03-20-2008, 02:56 PM
Depends on who you ask I guess...


03-20-2008, 03:05 PM
Depends on who you ask I guess...


Because the whole time we thought every single person on the internet agreed with this. Hey, thanks for the link!

03-20-2008, 03:05 PM
...He's not going to change the minds of the pateeu's of the world, or the memyself's of the world, whose minds are already completely made up that he's a horrible person, and those that support him are simply weak-minded and being duped...

The good senator is not a horrible person. Just the same old brand of politician who'll say whatever he thinks will dupe the weak minded or the hopeful. And what a gifted speaker he is.

Just CHANGE, baby.

03-20-2008, 03:11 PM
Depends on who you ask I guess...


So true.

03-20-2008, 03:27 PM
Depends on who you ask I guess...


So true.
Gallup: "1,219 Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters"
Politico: "More than a dozen interviews"