NY Times Caucus: Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes … That One

NY Times Caucus

Diamonds, Daisies, Snowflakes … That One

Did “that one” win last night’s debate?

We’re talking about the phrase, which has burst through the clutter of debate chatter to be one of the most talked-about moments in the 90 minutes from Nashville.

“That one” was the way Senator John McCain referred to Senator Barack Obama at one point last night. Angry reaction has emerged on the Internet today and lit up black-oriented radio stations, with commenters and callers saying that Mr. McCain was demeaning a fellow Senator and the presidential nominee of a major party.

Warren Ballentine, an African-American radio host in Atlanta and a strong Obama supporter, had a different take.

“It was totally disrespectful,” he said in an interview. “If you disrespect someone who is your equal, how will you treat me as a citizen?”

Mr. Ballentine saw other moments in the debate that troubled him as well, including Mr. McCain’s reference to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in response to a questioner who was black. “I’ll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis.”

Mr. Ballentine said that in the first debate, he had not perceived anything from Mr. McCain as particularly racial. “But now,” he said, “McCain’s back is up against the wall and he’s playing into stereotypical fears to get people to vote for him because people have a problem with blacks.”

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