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Advisor Axelrod admits Obama was referring to race

On Wednesday, campaigning in the state once known for the Missouri Compromise of 1820, Sen. Barack Obama, the Democrats' presumptive nominee for president, said about his Republican opponents:

"Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. What they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know: 'He's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.' "

That last phrase was the spark that set off The two major party presidential candidates confer early this year, Illinois Democratic Senator Barack Obama and Arizona Republican Senator John McCainperhaps the most profound and potentially emotional and divisive disagreement of the general-election campaign so far. To many, the most obvious commonality among "those other presidents on the dollar bills" is not powdered wigs; it's their race: white.

Immediately, John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, sharply rejected Obama's statement, saying the  Democrat had "played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck." Davis called Obama's remarks "divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

With not much else going on in midsummer, the media pounced, and we had a full-scale flareup. On Thursday, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs denied Davis' accusation and said Obama was simply referring to the fact that he didn't come into the race with the history of others. "It is not about race," Gibbs claimed.

Obama has since called the race charge "a typical pattern" of the GOP campaign.

But now Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, admits that the candidate was referring in part to his race when he suggested that the McCain campaign wants voters to fear Obama because he doesn't look like other presidents.

"He's not from central casting," Axelrod told a national TV audience Friday, "when it comes to candidates for president of the United States. He's new to Washington. Yes, he's African American."

Our blogging colleague Katie Fretland has more details on the ongoing controversy over here at the Swamp.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Newsday

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So Obama makes a racial comment about himself and then blames it on the Republicans? How does that work??????

McCain courting the Independent voters with his TV ads-

McCain goes to a Independent voter's house for dinner. This is to be MCain first time meeting the family and he is very nervous. They all sit down and begin eating a fine meal. McCain is beginning to feel a little discomfort, thanks to his nervousness and the happy meal. The gas pains are almost making his eyes water. Left with no other choice, he decides to relieve himself a bit and lets out a little fart. It wasn't loud, but everyone at the table heard it. Before he even had a chance to be embarrassed, the father looked over at the dog that had been snoozing at the MCain's feet, and said in a rather stern voice, "Ginger!" The McCain thought, "this is great!" and a big smile came across his face. A couple minutes later, he was beginning to feel the pain again. This time, he didn't even hesitate. he let a much louder and longer fart rip. The father again looked at the dog and yelled, "dammit Ginger!" Once again the MCcain smiled and thought, "yes!" A few minutes later MCain had to let another one rip. This time he didn't even think about it. he let rip with a fart that rivaled a train whistle blowing. Again, the father looked at the dog with disgust and yelled, "dammit Ginger, get away from him before he shits on you!"

The thing is, the Republicans have actually done exactly what Obama was accusing them of.

See McCain's video superimposing a distorted image of Obama on a $50 bill:

Yeah, Dr. Depends as President.
Gives a new meaning to "bombing" Iran.

Is anyone there?

Or are you all out campaigning for Gramps Mccrazy, the fourth horseman of the apocalypse ?

Barack Obama goes to Germany trying to act very presidential, gives a prepared speech that openly is racially biased, and expects us to believe that he is prepared to be president.

Barack Obama tells us that in a world where the ability to supply crude oil is barely more than the world-wide daily use of the same product, that the best strategy is to inflate our tires instead of seeking to increase the supply of oil. He may have a Harvard law degree, but he could not pass a simple economics exam.

Barack Obama is a puppet of others and is simply unprepared for the challenges of the Presidency.

Obama is trying to have it both ways. He can play the race card and somehow it is wrong for the other candidates not to. Even if the other candidates use the word white or black it is wrong. Yet he can call himself a "brother" and the other candidates can't even suggest that he is not electable" . He can appeal to the emotion that he was born to a " white " mother and have a "white grand mother " to appeal to the whites and play the brother card with the blacks. Shame on his campaign.

It's ridiculous to claim that Obama has "injected" race into the campaign. I live in North Carolina. The Republicans did that way back in the primary. He didn't "start" anything. He just called it out. Period. I don't think it's ridiculous to try to defuse the charge now - especially when McCain is clearly setting a standard of lower-than-lowest common denominator. His ads so far have proven that he's willing to charge Obama with anything, and to lie outright in order to do so.

all those other presidents on the dollar bills.''"
I might be wrong because no one has picked up on this , but I thought there was just one President on the dollar bill .
George Washington!

How is it that the Great Obama managed to foresee a time when Republicans would Photoshop his visaage on a bill of US currency? Did he pull that out of thin air?

LOL BILLY, that was soo HALARIOUS!

But anywaysz, back to the point. Leave it to the McSame campaign to stay stuck on something as trivial as that last statement Obama made. Talk about a simpleton arguement. McSame has no solutions to our country's needs because all he has to offer is MORE of the SAME!! which we all know got us where we are in the first place. I hope American's see through all of this because at this point, we shouldn't be able to tricked a THIRD time; if we do, then we deserve 4 more years of living hell. One which we might not have the ability to recover from; an opportunity we have NOW. Demand CHANGE not more of the SAME!!

A genuine gaffe: letting the truth slip out.

It's all about race.

McCain says Obama is "inexperienced".

A Harvard lawyer who is a US Senator is inexperienced?

Isn't McCain saying something else? Something you're not supposed to say? Something we've learned, over and over, isn't true?

Fear is what got you an empty wallet and a house you can't get refinanced. The banks ran out of money? Then how do we spend a billion a day in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Is McCain going to save us from ruin with his "experience" ?

Obama is not African American. He is not a Black man.
HE IS MIXED RACE. An African American/Black man is atleast another generation away from being a President in this country. Sad But True.
Obama's mother continues to be ignored as if she had nothing to do with Obama's existence. Sad But True.
If Obama wins it will be a hollow victory for all who want to paint Obama Black or White. It is a sensationalist novel prospect but not a reality that a Black or a Woman can be president at this time in history. Sad But True.
It will be a great Victory for all Mixed Race people everywhere if Obama wins or not---just that he came this far. Who in history continues to be shunned, ignored and degraded?....Mixed Race.

on green dollar bills, presidential portraits come in shades of gray.
and, the portraits of how many presidents feature on the dollar bill? most presidents do not show up on dollar bills. so this was a stealthy way for obama to try and paint his own on one - or to evoke the image, of him next to...yes, to who?
'the most common denomination of u.s. currency, the $1 bill, of the united states, features a painting of the first president, george washington on the obverse; the great seal of the united states on the reverse. the one dollar bill has the second oldest design of all u.s. currency currently produced, after the two dollar bill. the obverse first appeared 1963 when the $1 bill was made a federal reserve note. the inclusion of 'in god we trust' on all currency was required by law in 1955. the national motto first appeared on paper money in 1957. an individual dollar bill is also less formally known as a one, or a single.
thomas jefferson's painting features on the obverse of the $2 bill; and a painting, 'the declaration of independence' on the reverse. only about 1% of all dollar notes currently produced, and not in common use. today, there is a common misconception that the $2 bill is no longer in circulation. according to the treasury, they 'receive many letters asking why the $2 bill is no longer in circulation.'
the declaration of independence marks a unique venture in the history of humankind. as they ventured on this project, the founding fathers faced the threat of death. and they were aware of the fundamental incompatibilities, of some political compromises - as that of affording seats in the house of representatives according to population, with slaves counting as three-fifths of a person - but they saw themselves forced to agree to these things, so they could implement their ideas as an open project in working progress, making sure that the central premises of the constitution, the fundamental rights guaranteed in their timeless nature, allowed for later amendments as to the correction of practical application (eg abolition of slavery after civil war). the cornerstone being the revolutionary claim that any political order derives its legitimacy from a dimension of primordial equality in fundamental rights built into human existence.'
but it seems remarkable, that the portrait of jefferson, and the declaration of independence, has been hidden away on the $2 bill - by coincidence, or convenience, or shame?
this might be explained by jefferson's staunch opposition to the creation of a federal, or national bank. he was fully aware that this was contrary to the spirit of the constitution and would allow for corruption and treason. jefferson could not have agreed with a national currency in the hands of private bankers, such as the federal reserve, and with fiat money backed by nothing.
washington, less alert to the dangers, was more lenient, thus enabling corruption to take hold.
and so it's not a coincidence that the reverse of washington's portrait on the dollar bill features the insignia of the new world order agenda.
washington, first president of a free nation, thus cynically declared champion of the fed, and of global enslavement. freedom and slavery are two sides of the same bill, if that bill is based on deception and deceit.

but wouldn't obama's image, in that respect, look a lot more similar to washington's, than jefferson's?
and strikingly similar to mccain's.
it's that of jefferson that is different, and rare.
showing integrity and wisdom combined.
more resemblance with RON PAUL there.

Did the lately on top of everything LATimes miss the and posts about the fact McCain did indeed put Obama on a $100 bill, morph from Ben Franklin to Obama, distort and then explode the Obama image in a web ad on June 27, 2008?

I sure hope you folks didn't. Otherwise, how are people gonna know?????

The RNC created a web ad that, last time I checked, was up on McCain's website, which shows Obama's face on a $100 bill, not to mention Mt. Rushmore, and the Statue of Liberty. Obama wasn't pulling it out of thin air.

sorry, the RMC web ad where they put Obama's face on bills is not on McCain's website, but on youtube. Here it is:

The tactics of fear and hatred are diversionary politics designed to distract voters. No, I don't think McCain is a racist. He is just doing what republicans do to get into office. Nothing personal, just Washinton business as usual. Obama sees that. Most of us blacks would cry racism in a New York second but that's what makes Obama special. He doesn't over-react or make baseless accusations.

John mcCancient has no ideas to present, no reason to vote FOR him, so expect a lot more of this sort of thing.

John McCancient has no ideas of his own so expect lots more of this

Obama is a master illusionist, that's all. He's not qualified for POTUS.

His campaign knew there was no way they could lie their way around this one.

John McCain does know that his TV ads are appealing to racist and other fears. I once did have some respect for him, but his disingenuous ads and his "What me? I approved these ads but I not not mean what their subtext said" responses have evaporated what respect I once had. I pray that John McCain is soundly defeated for his unethical fear-mongering ads.

It shouldn't be so easy to make a racially divisive ad (Obama in proximity to two promiscuous, troubled young white women! on no!) and then be able to claim "the race card" was pulled on oneself when Obama makes the gentlest possible allusion to the racially divisive tactics being employed.

Look, maybe you don't agree with that reading of McCain's ad. Fine. Maybe you don't agree with Obama's "I don't look like other presidents" remark, that's fine too. But why is Obama's speech being policed so much more vigorously by the media and even by the commenters? Even if you disagree with what he said, why do you so quickly consider it to be "beyond the pale" (no pun intended) whereas McCain's multiple lies (consult, a centrist/nonpartisan website) over the last week are just good strategy.

At the very least, stop pretending that Obama gets better media. Sure they are paying more attention to Obama... the better to hang him with. He could never throw them enough barbecues to get them into bed with him, whereas McCain basically had them at hello. Can't we fight this one on the issues, for once?

Obama as Elmer Fudd.
MCCain as the Tasmanian Devil
Huckabee as Buggs Bunny.

Presidential Comedy on it's way!

McCains wife as Barbie
Mitt Romney as the Ken Doll
The political stratagests and advisors for McCain and Obama----Bring in the Clowns.

This is a sad day for USA when Obama and McCain are our finest choices.

Barack Obama rushed his success. David Axlerod strikes me as being very unethical. Too many suspicious things happened in the caucus state voting, too many Hillary Clinton delegates being bought off by Barack Obama's side. I find the 555 to 550 controversy the worst of all.

Hillary Clinton won 40 more congressional districts than Barack Obama did.

Where's Bill Clinton in all this? Did I hear someone say he's pouting in Africa?

McCain's side playing the usual stale old tactics of trying to obliterate the other side on a personal basis. It is so obvious that McCain is looking for a way for the race to get into race. Obama has simply been saying the obvious - the Republicans are saying he is not the main stream, he is different, does not represent the typical American. The right wing bloggers of course are saying much much worse. All in the name of alienating whites.

Of course, with Rovian/Bush philosophy guiding him, McCain is looking to reverse the responsibility to the one who he is attacking. Great eh, get your issue tabled in your favor and you paint it as the other guy's bad for raising it. I think right thinking Americans will see through this. What I think is that if American's fall for this kind of tactic on the basis that it somehow means that McCain is strong and manly and will keep them safe, well, they will get what they paid for. It is mean, whiny, mealy mouthed stuff from a man with no vision.

The Republicans and the right wing elite extremists of course must resort to trying to embarrass Obama or personally discredit him with racism, fear mongering and the like. This is because their views and policies are inferior and they have no strategy figured out for themselves other than to attack his character and also of course his wife's character.

McCain's dealing with all of this shows a small mind and a reactionary agenda. It shows he is not made of the right stuff to be a strong leader. I respect him. He is a patriot, he served his country, he suffered torture. However, that does not necessarily make him Presidential material. The more I see of him, the less I like.

I believe Obama is neither right or left, Democrat or Republican in his thinking and views. He is simply an intelligent commonsense person with a broad perspective. He also has a strong moral core, and I believe the steely determination to do what is right for America -- yes, including the dealing with terrorists and the wars. I believe this is what America needs -- what is right for America at any given one time is a mixture of the liberal and conservative ideologies. Not necessarily one or the other.

In fact, I would argue that neither liberal or conservative ideology is particularly better or correct. America's parties, particularly the Republican Party led by Bush and Rove, have tried to split America down the middle ("divide and conquer" strategy 101) in order to execute a philosophy of 50% plus one vote is enough to govern the other 50% minus 1 against their will. This has been more than misguided -- it has led to disastrous consequences for the country and indeed for other countries, and arguably the entire world.

I also believe Obama is in fact the mainstream here; he might not look mainstream on the outside, but inside, he is mainstream to the core. And, its what's inside that counts.

"If there was nothing wrong with Barack dealing the race card from the bottom of the deck, why was it denied at first?"


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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