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Headline: Race Debate Infuses Democratic Race

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, two candidates who have been historically committed to the African American community, are now sparring over race.

Last week, attempting to draw a distinction between hoping for change and working for change, Hillary said:

"I would point to the fact that that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in people’s lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it and actually got it accomplished.”

Some have decried Hillary's comments as diminishing Dr. King's role in the Civil Rights Movement.

For more on the race issue,

Bob Johnson, the nation's first black billionaire and one of Hillary's staunchest supporters, added his two cents:

"To me, as an African American, I am frankly insulted the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues —when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book - when they have been involved.

Obama claimed the high road in the controversy surrounding Clinton's comment explaining:

"The notion that this is our doing is ludicrous.”

Add the media whirlwind surrounding Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" remark, and it seems that a debate about race, which doesn't really include much substantive disagreement between the two candidates, is picking up steam. Unfortunately, this controversy has captured the media, taking away attention from the candidates' respective policy stances, which is what Hillary may have been referring to all along.


Join The Conversation
potc-crazyy potc-crazyy 9 years
PBS says that sooner or later, the true facts about how Obama was a slacker will come up. And I agree. Obama won't become president, even if he gets pretty close.
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
I read nothing negative in her comment. I agree with the previous poster that no matter how influential a person is or how great their contributions it takes the government to make things happen "legally" and "constitutionally". It is important to have a President and Congress that is willing to listen to the people and get things done instead of hiding behind the status quo. The media love to bash Clinton but seem to ignore her competitors who spend their time bringing up her sex as an issue or discussing her clothes, hair or emotions. I have not made up my mind about who to support but I would like to see more focus on the issues. This is why I tend to ignore most media and take what I read with a grain of salt.
tinkersfolly tinkersfolly 9 years
This has been blown way out of porportion. Martin Luther King was a great leader and I believe he had alot more to do, if he had never been killed in the prime of his life. To make anything possible it takes our goverment to vote on it. I am neither a Clinton or an Obama supporter, as of today I am torn between 2 candidates.
legalbeagle legalbeagle 9 years
I think this is totally ridiculous... there is nothing going on here and the media has blown this statement way out of proportion. Clinton just meant that that piece of legislation was what helped make Dr. King's dream a reality. Obama hasnt even commented on what Clinton said so how can there be some sort of debate about it???? This is a remarkable time in our history- for once a black man and a woman have a shot at becoming President of our country... Dr. King would be deeply saddened and disappointed that his name is being used in this 'controversy' over nothing!!
kitkatherine kitkatherine 9 years
people are so all over hilary clinton. i just kind of want to leave her be. people love her or hate her. i don't really care. i'm not going to vote for her anyhow... and if you love her, sweet. if you hate her, fine. she does good and bad, she's just... a human.
Lorelei-Spirit Lorelei-Spirit 9 years
I don't think she is at all discrediting MLK - but MLK obviously didn't have the actual POWER to make changes like a President does. That's more likely her point. I think sometimes people are simply LOOKING for negativity, rather than actually reading or listening to what one says. Also, one must be very careful of the source. Words and context is often eliminated in order to suit the purpose of the media.
kia kia 9 years
I think the media is taking this for more of a spin than it needs. These two "fighting" over this issue is pretty stupid in the first place and rather divisive for the party.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
I think Politicians' comments being taken out of context are a result of the 24 news networks. In order to fill time, they have to make big things out of the smallest mis-spoken word in order to get viewers to get ratings to get advertising dollars.
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
Ironically, MLK was not a particularly important part of the Civil Rights movement in anything but his significant press image and how it swayed white Americans. MLK and the organizations he worked with served only the black middle class into assimilating with white middle classers - the poor in both urban and rural settings were abandoned once the 'goal' of Civil Rights had come to pass. MLK began his work with an intention to acquire jobs and sustainable economics within the black community, but as more whites joined in the campaign, they used their money to pressure these organizations (SCLC, NAACP, etc) to back away from the class issue. Hillary is your typical lefty - in that, she's NOT a lefty in the slightest. She's the polar opposite of modern Republicans - socially liberal, and fiscally modern. You want too far left? Check out Kucinich. Or better yet, Ron Paul, who's so far right that he's on the fringe of the left. Not to say if you vote for Clinton you're making a bad choice. I don't have the right to pass that sort of judgement - I'm just sad that the only concept of race and class that most Americans perceive from this election are from the biased views of a wealthy white woman, and a wealthy black man. When will the poor of all races ever be represented? That's why I'm reluctantly backing Edwards in anything he can accomplish.
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
First of all, it's "Hillary Clinton." Not "Hilary Clinton." And to the earlier commenter's points that Hillary's only "claim: to her political position was that she "influenced her husband" while he was President is crap. It's on of her claims. But it's not her only. Everyone who runs for public office comes from different backgrounds. It should make no difference if a candidate came from near poverty and worked their way up. It's commendable - yes. And it shows many that anything is possible. But it sure as hell does not mean you are the best candidate for the job. People who came from a privileged background are equally as qualified and ready to take on the job. And the idea that women are "siding with Hilary [sic] Clinton merely because she is a woman" is a load of crap. I prefer to think that women are above looking at a candidate just based on their race or gender. And you want to talk voting record? Please! At least Clinton HAS a voting record. If you calculate the number of "NV" (not voting) citations they each have had since the start of 2005, Obama comes in with 115 NVs. Clinton only has 78. So AT LEAST SHE DOES VOTE. And at least she isn't afraid to step up and defend why she voted. (Go here to find candidate voting records:
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
ugh can you all just get over it. It appalls me what certain Americans find more important, you all have bigger problems than what Clinton did or did not say yet that's what people are yacking about. Catch a clue the world is changing while you focus on issues that don't matter in the least.
ms_mags ms_mags 9 years
It seems to me that many female voters are siding with Hilary Clinton merely because she is a woman. Few have bothered to look at her voting record to see where she stands on the issues. They are believing her 'talk' as much as the other candidates. I consider myself moderate and found John Edwards and Barack Obama to fit in more with my ideals. Hilary is too far left for my tastes.
Nickey Nickey 9 years
ALL candidates comments are spun by the media and taken out of context, not just Clinton's comments. It's important that we recognize that the media is biased and they focus on certain things more than others. The result is that we hear a lot of crap and it gives people a false impression of candidates and what they stand for. If all you know is what is said on the news, then how can you possibly say that a candidate is unfit or is all talk? Do your research and then come back and bash a candidate. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are two candidates who are similar and different. They both have come into the political arena in DC from different backgrounds. Clinton came to DC as a first lady from being the wife of a governor and then moved onto to take a seat in the senate. Obama came to DC after starting from the bottom of the political ladders and worked his way into a senate seat. Clinton supposedly influenced her husband while he was in office. Obama began his public service in his neighborhood, his city, and his state, then he moved on to changing things in this country. Both candidates have made contributions in different ways. Lastly, Obama has never called himself the candidate for African American voters. He has called himself the candidate for the American people who want change in this country. He has never sought to be distinctly for one demographic in this country. He is a candidate for all and not just African Americans. He has walked his talk on the local front as well as on the national front and made some instrumental contributions to society. Obama is far from just talk. As for the comments made by Bob Johnson, what he said doesn't make any sense. People should definitely think before they speak, but he claims that his comments were taken out of context as well. Who knows? But the real deal is this "race war" was started by Clinton with her comments that were taken in or out of context. The media pumped it up and made it more than what it was and Obama took the high road. Let's talk about the issues people and not the race or gender wars that the media is cooking up!
Princesskitty22 Princesskitty22 9 years
I didn't take it that way. I thought what she said spoke to those who could talk and those who could do (activists and government) working together. She never said that MLK wasn't important; if I remember correctly, she spoke about how much she respected him. And just let me say that I'm not sure that there would be such a hoopla about a similar comment made about Susan B. Anthony and Woodrow Wilson. I think there's a bias toward her. Maybe I'm naive, but that's just what I've observed.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
Surely they have more pressing issues to discuss than fifty-year-old legislation? And also, what does Obama's drug use as a teenager have to do with any of it? These things just get blown ridiculously out of proportion...
TheMissus TheMissus 9 years
People who jump to conclusions are morons. Media is mostly biased... And against Clinton. Things get taken out of context all the time with her... And then it gets tossed around that she said inferred something when she truly did not. The Dr. King statement is one of those times. Yesterday, on Meet The Press, Tim Russert asked Clinton about this. He pretty much came out on the attack and asked her what response did she have to those who saw this as an attack on Dr. King's role in the Civil Rights Movement. Clinton, very well - I might add, defended herself by pointing out that the statement was taken out of context. There was verbiage leading up to the statement. And in fact, if listened to as a whole, it would show that she herself listened to Dr. King speak when she was a child. She grew up and has spent her career working towards women's rights, civil rights, family rights... You name it. If there's one candidate in this Democratic race that has absoultely, 100% without a doubt shown that they can go to Washington and actually get sh%t done, it's Clinton. The rest of the candidates are all "talk." You can "talk" all you want people... But what it comes down to is "action." Hillary Clinton is a worthy candidate. And Bob Johnson was just defending his boss, and rightly so. You (Obama) want to sit there and say you're the "candidate for the African American voters"... But what have you gone out there and done? And has it been more susbtantial than what Clinton has done? It's time he started answering questions. Talk is cheap... And woman voters know better. You want my vote? Open your mouth and start talking. Don't spin your "vision of hope" for me. I want realistic talking points.
shawny_Q shawny_Q 9 years
She needs to learn how to control her supporters. There is only so much that people will let slide before they start to put this back on the Clinton's themselves and Bob Johnson should know better than to say something like that. I thought he was such a great business man. I guess business sense doesn't = common sense
Zahara-Pitt Zahara-Pitt 9 years
am so over the democrats... howard dean need to step up and say something and stop this nonsense
juju4 juju4 9 years
I am so tired of the focus on non-policy related issues. Can we stick to the important things? The major news stations let Americans down by focusing on these things.
ChelseaGirl ChelseaGirl 9 years
This woman reveals over and over again that she blindly listens to her campaign managers without any awareness of what she is actually saying. A little genuineness would really go a long way, but I'm not sure that she's capable of it anymore.
ChelseaGirl ChelseaGirl 9 years
Clinton is an idiot.
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