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O'Reilly obsessing about Obama's "race problem"

Reported by Chrish - May 8, 2008 -

That giant sucking sound you hear is Bill O'Reilly kissing up to Barack Obama to get him to come on The Factor. Tonight's Talking Points Memo 5/7/08 included congratulations and praise, which was effectively destroyed later as O'Reilly pursued the real talking point: Obama's got a "race problem" that won't go away.

Talking Points declared that with it now mathematically impossible for Hillary Clinton to catch Obama in the popular vote or elected delegates, her only hope for the nomination (barring a re-vote in MI and FL, which Obama will never agree to) is to persuade super-delegates to vote for her.

If Obama is denied the nomination through this method, his huge African-American voting bloc would be furious. (That's what the text says, which will appear on the FNwebsite for posterity. O'Reilly actually said

"The big cloud hanging over all this is the African-American vote, currently 90% for Obama. If the Senator is denied the nomination after all this, that vote will be furious, and mass demonstrations in Denver would very likely happen. So Obama wins, and he knows it."

O'Reilly doesn't see (fears) Clinton as VP; she'd be more powerful as a Senator and could run again in 2012 (which assumes McCain beats Obama - congrats you big loser). Race will be a factor in an Obama-McCain match-up, he predicts (for the first but not last time).

Comment: O'Reilly has accused many people, including Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, of race-baiting, but it seems to me he keeps bringing race into the election himself. HIs above comments suggest that black people will get violent if they don't get their candidate, and this intimidation tactic is acknowledged (and presumably condoned) by Obama.

The usual fair-and-balanced crew was on hand to analyze: Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Dennis Miller
and Mary Catherine Ham - conservatives every one.

Rove led off in the "Top Story" slot, agreeing with O'Reilly's TPM. He offered advice - Obama needs to take a vacation and then find an issue to champion in the Senate for a few months to pad his resume. Coming from an informal adviser to the McCain campaign (which FOX doesn't mention, presenting him as an objective and disinterested political analyst instead), even the most common sense advice is suspect.

Dick Morris couldn't wait to get on and gloat about the inevitable demise of Hillary Clinton's campaign. O'Reilly immediately injected his Talking Point: "Barack Obama has a race problem." He's got 90% of the black vote, but white blue-collar voters went overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. Morris said that he has wondered, if Clinton got the nomination, would many of her voters then vote for McCain in the general because in the primary they were merely voting against Obama? The implication is that many Democrats voting for Clinton are racists, voting against a black man.

Morris put O'Reilly on the defensive by saying that McCain and Obama are not the most important people this summer, they're just the candidates. "But the real fight over the summer is gonna be you, and Hannity, and Limbaugh, and all of those folks** against Obama over issues like Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers and all that." (**Ingraham, Gibson, Kilmeade, Sullivan, Boortz, Beck...ch)

O'Reilly hastily denied that he should be lumped in with his fellow right-wing hate- talk-radio hosts, saying "it's not the same presentation." Morris reminded him that it was he and Sean who broke the Wright story, and O'Reilly replied that "(he'd) break a story on McCain like that." Any story that comes across his desk that he feels folks should know about, he breaks.

Yup, that's the problem - folks like the above are the gatekeepers of what gets reported and what gets overlooked or quickly dismissed. As for presentation, O'Reilly has to keep his television persona suited up and toned down for his viewers, unlike right-wing radio listeners who like it rough.

Morris continued that the source of negatives against Obama will not be McCain, but conservative media. (Finally, an acknowledgment that there is such an animal!) The "liberal media" is out to lunch and will only cover it after a few weeks, which made O'Reilly indignant. The "liberal media is a huge machine: NBC, CNN, the New York Times" and they will be outwardly rooting for Obama, ruthlessly cutting up John McCain.

Morris framed McCain as "the given in this race" with Obama as the see-sawing variant on his fulcrum - and his positives and negatives will determine the race. (So, all things being equal, the white Christian male power structure remains intact; negatives will secure that, positives will threaten that.)

Morris continued with this gem:

"The determinant in the election will be if we believe that Barack Obama is what he appears to be, or is he somebody who's sort of a sleeper agent who really doesn't believe in our system and is more aligned with Wright's views."

Oh. My. God. They're going to convince repressed racists that Obama is the scary black man bent on turning America into, I don't know, something unthinkable. This is disgusting on so many levels.

Obama's refutation of Wright won't stick, he said, and then Morris laughed as he said "This guy, who used to have to convince people he wasn't a Muslim, now he's electable only if he can convince people he never goes to church."

O'Reilly thinks it's bigger than that - there are a lot of fearful people and Obama has to get himself more known. He absolutely has to come on The Factor if he wants to convince blue-collar people to vote for him.

They switched to discussing the Hillary Clinton interview, and Morris thinks (Monday morning quarterbacking) that the interview hurt her with voters, who were reminded how liberal she is.

O'Reilly steered it back to Obama again, and "the race thing." Morris said Obama was popular in the beginning because he's "not Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton." Now he has to be "not Reverend Wright." He has to go to the Iwo Jima Memorial, celebrate American action on AIDS, wrap himself in a flag on the Fourth of July, and be with the Beach Boys!

In other words, he has to be some flag lapel-pin wearing love-it-or-leave-it right-wing wannabe to get O'Reilly's viewers' votes. Just being himself is not going to win any hearts or minds, O'Reilly is saying. I hope Obama is listening.