Obama: Enough With "Black Enough"
LAS VEGAS--Speaking before the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Las Vegas, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) directly addressed the charge that he is "not black enough."
He joked about the issue at first, poking fun at a stereotype of blacks. "I apologize for being a little bit late," he said, "but you guys keep asking if I'm black enough, so I figured I would stroll in."
But he turned serious about such questions. "We should ask ourselves why that is," he said. "It is not because of my physical appearance presumably. It's not because of my track record... I think in part we're still locked in this notion if you appeal to white folks, there must be something wrong."
Obama also touched on foreign policy and criticized Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) by name, arguing that Clinton had signaled her agreement with a statement he made about attacking al-Qaeda in Pakistan before changing her position on the issue.
On her criticism of his recent statement that would meet with foreign leaders like Cuba's Fidel Castro, Obama said he would meet with Castro but demand that he release political prisoners and ask Iranian leaders in meetings if they would cease development of nuclear weapons. He dismissed Clinton's view that these meetings could be used for propaganda purposes.
"I'm not afraid to lose a propaganda battle with a bunch of dictators," Obama said. He added, "being experienced is not enough, the question is what lessons do you learn from your experience," Obama told more than a thousand journalists at the Bally's hotel. "Everyone here knows a lot of 50 and 60 year-olds who have a lot of experience, but not much judgment...The people who have been criticizing me over the past two weeks are the people who engineered what is the biggest foreign policy fiasco in a generation."
Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman, said "Senator Clinton will ensure that [Osama] bin Laden is killed or captured but knows there is a difference between saying that and telegraphing how we would do so in way that makes it harder to achieve that goal."
Obama was asked by the journalists if he, as the Democratic nominee, would pick Clinton as his running mate. Obama said she was "very capable" and that she would be on anyone's short list.
--Perry Bacon Jr.
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