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Wag the Blog Redux: Clinton vs. Obama on MLK Day

Earlier this week, Fix readers were asked for their take on the speeches Hillary Rodham Clintonand Barack Obama delivered on Sunday to honor Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. We asked which candidate you thought conveyed the most compelling message and why.

Clinton visited Harlem and addressed the Abyssinian Church; Obama delivered a speech at King's home church -- Ebenezer Baptist -- in Atlanta. You can rewatch clips of their speeches and continue the conversation here.

The most insightful reader responses are below:

Clinton's Shortfall

I felt like Obama's speech spoke to specific issues facing African Americans in a way that Hillary Clinton might never be able to... Obama is willing to challenge the status quo; notice his comments about responsibility in the community and good parenting garnered huge applause from the congregants. Posted by: amyuw05 |

It's Not All About the Economy, Hillary

Hillary's left me cold. Her interpretation of MLK's speech was that it was all about "economic justice"...The underlying current of her entire speech, though well presented, was very political, not as reverential towards MLK as it should have been. Obama's speech was far more inspirational and detailed about what MLK's mission was and what it means in the 21st century...I am a 60 year old white woman, by the way. Posted by: bdaugert

Read Between the Lines

The difference between Clinton's speech and Obama's is passion. Obama has the passion to inspire, to lead and to ask for sacrifice. Clinton's "passion" seems studied and lacked a call to action. Posted by: Truth_Hunter

More Policy, Please

Obama's speech wins hands down... Ultimately, Obama offers more policy positions than Clinton's speech does, and yet he remains more visionary and inspiring in his presentation of those issues. Clinton would fail as president in her ability to communicate ideas and inspire vision... Posted by: blert

Beyond Economic Equity

Hillary Clinton's message calls for the honoring of Dr. King's dream in terms of providing economic justice. In citing examples of people doing all they can - working multiple jobs, combining vocation and "mission" - she makes a compelling appeal for the need to provide economic equity, which she presumably offers through her candidacy.

Obama's oratory focuses on the shaking of walls--walls of all kinds: walls of injustice, walls of racial animosity, walls of ideological divides and walls of economic constraints. Not only, Obama says, can those walls be shaken, but they can be broken by the unity that Dr. King envisioned... Posted by: jaredwrightus

Older and Wiser

Hillary's speech was from the heart and because she is older, was about Dr. King's impact on her. It is different for Obama who see's Dr. King as history. I appreciated Hillary's personal story about actually hearing Dr. King... Posted by: peterdc

Obama's Challenge

Clinton's speech came off as a pat on the back, while Obama's came off as a rallying cry... She talked about some current issues, but didn't really chart a course forward. Obama challenged people to go beyond admiring MLK's "Dream" and redouble their efforts at making it reality... Posted by: illinois2

Seven Minutes of Obama was Enough

I listened to Hillary Clinton and was moved by her call to keep going, keep striving for a more perfect union. It called me to get involved again. It was simple, honest, even humorous and moving...I listened to Barack Obama for about 7 minutes and didn't get it. Besides being irritated at his fake southern accent, what I got was when we have a problem, blow a horn..."Hillary wins big. Posted by: lwoodfield

A Call for the Wrong Sort of Justice

Clinton... misunderstands or mis-conveys King's message. It was NOT about "economic justice", narrowly. It was about social justice. Lynching was not an economic issue. Being able to use a public bathroom was not an economic issue. Being publicly, constantly, routinely humiliated, made to give up a seat on the bus, use the back door, send one's kids to inferior schools, those were not issues of economic justice. They were issues of social justice... Posted by: regina

By Washington Post editors  |  January 25, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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