Geraldine Ferraro’s insensitive contention that Barack Obama got where he is because he’s a black man has finally forced her resignation as a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her resignation came after she repeated her comments anyone who would listen, and after Hillary herself refused to condemn her words and fire her.
There’s no question that the Clintons have been recklessly playing the race card since before the South Carolina Primary, and I’ll be surprised if we don’t find out someday that Ferraro’s remarks were the result of a deliberate strategy by Team Billary. (See former Clinton operative Dick Morris' post on this.)
Using surrogates to deliver provocative charges is a long-standing technique for the Clintons; those of us who are veterans of national campaigns during the 1990s have seen the Clintons use this gambit dozens of times.
What’s really surprising is that Republicans have missed a golden opportunity to strike back with an observation of our own – that regardless of how Obama got where he is, there’s no doubt at all that Hillary would never have gotten where she is had she not been married to (and stayed with) Bill.
Tonight on 360°, another campaign controversy. At issue, a sermon given by Barack Obama's minister at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Barack Obama has already distanced himself from his pastor, but he's also called him his spiritual advisor. Tonight, we'll show you the sermon and let you decide.
We'll also have a story we've been promising for a few days: An up close look at Michelle Obama, and we'll bring you the new developments in the Florida and Michigan primary mess.
And, oh yeah, Eliot Spitzer. Can't forget him.
I want to mention this again: We’ve been getting complaints about how long it takes to post some comments. We wish we could post them all, but with more than 1000 every night, it is not possible.
Here’s a tip: shorter comments are more likely to get posted. If they are short AND relevant to what is on the program, even better.
So no more 500-word essays on who you think is the best candidate and why. There are other forums for that.
As always, we’ll start at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET. See you then!
Geraldine Ferraro’s comments that Barack Obama’s candidacy benefits from his being black has re-launched a new wave of media stories examining the race factor. Newspapers across the country – including in Pennsylvania where the next primary happens – are analyzing whether the Clinton campaign benefits from these types of racial comments which wind up overshadowing the campaign at large.
Some papers dub it the “Archie Bunker strategy”, an attempt to tap into potential prejudices in white ethnic voters by forcing them to focus on Obama’s “blackness.”
Reckless and irresponsible comments have turned this historic race into a divisive and at times ugly campaign, and consequently racial politics has firmly burrowed itself into the election. We are still almost six weeks away from the Pennsylvania primary and given the pattern thus far, Ferraro probably won’t be the last to discuss Obama’s skin color.
This afternoon, new details are emerging in the Spitzer scandal. The search for "Kristen" is over. Actor Billy Crystal struck out in his new career. But he has no regrets. And, be prepared to pay out more cash for that gold necklace. Here's your Afternoon Buzz:
Spitzer's escort: 'I love who I am'
When the Emperors Club VIP said it was sending Kristen, a call girl it described as a "petite, very pretty brunette, 5 feet 5 inches, and 105 pounds," Client 9 was pleased.
Security Alert: Arrest on Heathrow runway
A man was arrested on the runway at London's Heathrow Airport in a major security alert on the eve of a visit by Queen Elizabeth to open a landmark new terminal building
Gold hits record $1,000 an ounce
Bargain-hunting at the local jewelry store just got harder
Florida Dems devise new do-over plan for primary
Florida Democrats want a do-over, and state party officials have a proposal for recouping the 210 delegates that the Sunshine State lost when it moved its primary ahead of the approved time frame.
Today on the campaign trail
What's in the headlines...
Southwest inspections completed
Southwest Airlines said it resumed normal operations Thursday after several dozen planes were reinspected on Wednesday.
Phobia kept woman in bathroom for 2 years
A 35-year-old woman who sat on her boyfriend's toilet for so long that her body was stuck to the seat had a phobia about...
Crime & Punishment
UNC suspect also charged in Duke killing
The teen suspect in last week's slaying of University of North Carolina student Eve Carson has been charged in a second student killing, police said Thursday.
What YOU will be TALKING about TONIGHT
A dozen pregnant women wanted - for ballet
Far from being heavy, lumbering and clumsy, pregnant women are often fascinating, beautiful and serene, according to the artistic director of one British ballet company.
Crystal goes down swinging
Billy Crystal better stick to his night job. The comedian, actor and Oscar presenter struck out in his new career as a...
The best known person on the presidential campaign trail is not one of the candidates for president.
Bill Clinton in many ways is larger than life. We followed him this past week in Pennsylvania and Mississippi as he campaigned for his wife. What we found out firsthand is this: Most people come to his rallies because they support Hillary Clinton for president. But Bill is the star they want to see.
Yesterday, we were backstage with the 42nd president at a high school gymnasium in Erie, Pennsylvania. He had the flu, so he wasn’t feeling very good. But as he came from behind the curtain, walked on the stage, and heard the cheers of the packed gym, it seemed to reinvigorate him.
She’s been dubbed “the closer”. That’s because Michelle Obama has proven an effective fundraiser and campaigner in her husband’s presidential quest. But that wasn’t always the case.
It took some promises and some bribes – a promise by him that he’d stop smoking, and a pledge to their two young girls that win or lose, they get a puppy out of the deal.
Now that she’s on board, she’s doing every thing in her power to win and as she puts it “keep it real”. Some have suggested she may be keeping it a little too real. Her candid comments about her husband’s dirty socks and body odor have gotten her in trouble, as well as this bombshell, “For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country.”
Michelle’s older brother Craig Robinson (an accomplished guy in his own right – he’s head coach of the men’s basketball team at Brown), tells us with Michelle, what you see is what you get. He also says she’s pretty thick-skinned, “When it’s on her she handles it just fine…When it comes to criticizing Barack or somebody else in the family, or someone she really cares about, she is the best person to have in your corner.” Her candor is certainly a change from previous first lady contenders, and while some pundits have bashed her for it, others have called it refreshing. And voters are lapping it up, packing in by the hundreds to hear Michelle Obama speak.
It must be excruciating for Silda Spitzer to wake up to today’s news coverage: Photographs and the life story of her husband’s prostitute plastered all over the New York tabloids and cable television.
Having endured the public humiliation of literally standing by her man twice in the last three days as he confessed to betraying her, now she can see the 22-year old face and bikini-clad body of the Ashley Dupre, for whom Eliot Spitzer paid thousands of dollars for sex in the Mayflower Hotel the day before Valentine’s Day.
It’s far more than any of us wanted to know, that our Harvard Law-educated middle-aged governor turned away from his loyal, attractive, Harvard Law-educated middle-aged wife and was willing to risk his career and his family’s dignity for sex with a young woman only a few years older than his teenaged daughters.
Don't quit your day-job (yet)! Off the trail, and back at the senate – McCain, Obama, and Clinton are all back in Washington today!
McCain is back to vote for a bill that would place a one-year moratorium on earmarks, money that is tacked onto bills by legislators for pet projects. In a statement, McCain said: “I believe we must end this process, which has diverted billions in taxpayer dollars to needless projects, once and for all. If voters give me the pen, I will veto every single pork-barrel bill Congress sends me...”
Well, bloggers, I'm not asking for your pet-projects, I'm just asking for a little help with tonight's 'Beat 360°.' Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.
Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?
Here is today’s “Beat 360°” pic of the day:
Here's one to get you started:
“You MUST try the pork from this place. It is like a smorgasbord!”
Have fun with it.
Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
– David Reisner, 360° Digital Producer
UPDATE: Check out last night's winner!
Standing in front of Ms. Dupré's apartment last night, I got that awful feeling that I was contributing to the glamorization of prostitution. A fancy address, a doorman, young fashionable people walking in and out, with the implicit message: "all this could be yours if you enter the world of so-called high end hookers".
Having seen my share of women who are suddenly famous because of the people they "service", I can say Ashley Dupré is in for a rough ride.
Read between the lines of her MySpace story and I see a young girl, confused and simply used by so many in her life. She even told the NYTimes she doesn't know how she can pay for her apartment since a man she was living with walked out.
All of it tragically sad, and sadly glamorous in a spotlight that I feel will leave Ms. Dupré in a dark shadow once we in the media focus our lights elsewhere.
– Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit Correspondent