Politico: The race discussion Obama didn’t want

Politico (9/21/08)

The race discussion Obama didn’t want

When the Democratic primary descended into a charged debate about black and white and Sen. Barack Obama‘s racially polarizing pastor last spring, Obama took the stage to address the question of race head-on.

“Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now,” Obama told those assembled at Philadelphia‘s National Constitution Center and a nationally televised audience in March.

His campaign, though, didn’t follow his lead.

Instead, his aides have steered clear of any explicit discussion of racial inequality or of his pioneering campaign as they try to woo swing voters, some of whom may be discomfited by the notion of the first black president.

“The best time for a national conversation on race is when he’s president,” Bill Perkins, a New York state senator from Harlem and early Obama supporter, said Saturday, expressing a widely held view among Democrats.

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