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Is the Right's Obama 'race' video a bombshell or a dud?
Matt Drudge, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity promised a new video that would rock President Obama's campaign, but it might have fallen flat
 
In a speech to a predominantly black audience, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama says the people of New Orleans were shortchanged by the government after Katrina.
In a speech to a predominantly black audience, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama says the people of New Orleans were shortchanged by the government after Katrina.
Screen shot, The Daily Caller

The tease started at the Drudge Report on Tuesday afternoon: A headline promising the imminent release of "Obama's other race speech," an "exclusive" video obtained by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's website Daily Caller, to be featured on Sean Hannity's Fox News show Tuesday night. (Watch excerpts below.) And as promised, Carlson released the video, the full 40-minute version of a speech then–Sen. Obama gave before mostly black clergy at Virginia's Hampton University in June 2007. Liberals chuckled, pointing out that the speech Hannity spun as a racially charged "bombshell" had in fact been covered at the time by everyone from CNN to, well, Fox News. The full video does have new sections, though, including Obama praising his controversial then–pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright and criticizing the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. "People are saying it's already been reported, but no, it hasn't been reported," Carlson told Hannity. "I know, because I reported on it." Is this attempt at an October surprise "lame," as Democrats claim? Or might it end up hurting Obama's bid for a second term?

This smear attempt will backfire: Hannity, Drudge, Carlson, and their follwers on the Right just tried "to board their white resentment mothership, only to have it crash and burn," says Tommy Christopher at Mediaite. Not only will this old, anodyne video not hurt Obama, it actually makes him "more likable." He's more inspiring and impassioned than we've seen him in years. Throw in "the naked racial paranoia of Hannity and Carlson," and it's pretty clear this tape "will redound to the president's benefit, except with people who were already not voting for him."
"Fox News 'exposes' the most awesome Barack Obama speech ever..."

Actually, this shows that Obama is the real divider: The only racist here is that "great racial unifier" in the Oval Office, says Paul Mirengoff at Power Line. Talking to a black audience — and as a candidate for president, "so this isn't ancient history" — Obama reveals his true self. And the real Obama "slandered the U.S. government and white America," arguing that "America needs to redistribute wealth from whites to blacks in order to offset, as best it can, the nation's basic racism." This isn't the "Barack 'No Red America, No Blue America' Obama" that middle America voted for.
"Obama slandered America as racist using dishonest claims..."

Nice try. But this is no '47 percent' video:  One of Obama's remarks is maybe "a bit too Kanye West for the campaign trail," says Margaret Hartmann at New York. But this latest "October Surprise" is a dud. How do we know? "Despite all the hype, the video flopped even among Republicans," and Team Romney wouldn't touch it. And "most tellingly, within a few hours even Drudge had moved on." This isn't the Right's, or even Drudge's, first attempt to defuse the campaign season's actual damaging video — Romney's "47 percent" stinker. Maybe they'll have better luck next time.
"Conservatives reveal October Surprise: Another old Obama video"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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