- Race and the campaign
The Clintons - who believe their hearts are pure - have been playing the race card for months.
It started in Iowa. A Clinton staffer fired off a statewide e-mail saying that Obama was Muslim (false) and had attended a radical Islam school, a madrassa (false). The aide was fired, an apology was issued, but the damage had been done.
Former senator Bob Kerrey, a Clinton ally, recycled the madrassa myth on CNN and said Obama's middle name (Hussein) gave him entree to a billion Muslims. Apology issued, damage done.
Bill Shaheen, Clinton's New Hampshire cochairman, said that Obama's admittance of teenage drug use would damage him in the general election. Granted. But Shaheen also predicted what the press would ask Obama: "Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?" Sell them? Would these questions be asked of a white candidate? Apology issued, damage done.
A black primary
After South Carolina, Bill Clinton compared Obama to Jesse Jackson in a lame attempt to make it a black thing. Hillary Clinton recently said she was sorry if anyone was offended. Apology issued, damage done.
That first black president thing
President Clinton was called "the first black president" by Toni Morrison, the black Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. But the context of her sobriquet wasn't affectionate.
"In the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black president. . . . Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas." She then condemned him for jettisoning blacks from his administration. "The message was clear, 'No matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how much coin you earn for us, we will put you in your place or put you out of the place.' "
Driving Miss Hillary?
Obama leads in pledged delegates and popular vote, and has won twice as many states as Clinton. He beats McCain, my friends, in nearly all national polls. But Clinton has suggested that Obama would be a good number two on her ticket, an offer Obama promptly refused.
A 1,000-word picture
The Drudge Report, the right-wing news and gossip website, was sent that photo of Obama in Somali garb. It exploded across the nation's media just days before the Ohio primary. Drudge said the picture came from aides to Clinton, which her campaign denied. No apology, damage done.
First, Governor Ed Rendell, leading Clinton's campaign in Pennsylvania, said there are white people in his state who won't vote for Obama because he's black. Then, Geraldine Ferraro, a Clinton fund-raiser, said if Obama were white, he wouldn't be leading. Apology issued, damage done. Again.