June 24th, 2008
12:08 PM ET

Post-racial America? Ask Don Imus and Karl Rove...

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/24/art.triple.roveobamaimus2.jpg]

Editor's Note: Due to an editing error, two paragraphs were left out when this blog was initially posted. The complete blog is now below:

Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

From Don Imus, defender of African Americans: "I meant he was being picked on because he's black." That's how the radio jock explained his comment about the half dozen arrests of suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones. "What color is he?" Imus had asked. When told that Jones is African-American, Imus said, "Well, there you go. Now we know."

What do we know?

On the same day, Karl Rove described Obama as a "coolly arrogant" country club elitist before an audience who'd know about country clubs and elitists: Republican insiders at a Capitol Hill Club breakfast.

"Even if you never met him, you know this guy," Rove said, according to ABC. "He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."

Just picture that - Barack Obama, bi-racial son of an African dad and a single white mom, a former community organizer/Democratic vote getter in Chicago - now an arrogant country club guy with martini making snide comments at passers by? And that's entertaining for its reach, and politically lethal for a presidential campaign.

Rove added McCain "needs to come right at him," ABC reported, apparently just as Rove did.

Obama predicted this kind of attack with his own preemptive shot at Republicans: “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run,” he told Florida fundraisers on Friday. “They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’"

Nearly half of white Americans say race relations are in bad shape, according to to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Sunday. Three in 10 acknowledge feeling racial prejudice. (There was no way to count those who feel but don't acknowledge racial prejudice.)

So... anyone who thinks that Obama's presumptive victory in the Democratic primary means we're in a post-racial America might want to think again.

Race will play the falling knife in this... race. And you can bet your country club membership, we're just getting started.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Barclay Palmer • Race in America • Raw Politics
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Victor


    No real white racist uses black talk
    They don't listen to rap music – they don't do ebonics and they are usually not direct in their racism
    They say things like "can't take responsibility" , "behave appropriately" and the rest of that condescending talk

    Don Imus is notone of them

    June 24, 2008 at 10:49 pm |
  2. jssglw

    I can't believe I am saying this but Carl Rove took the words out of my mouth. He sure has Obama pegged.

    June 24, 2008 at 9:25 pm |
  3. Mari, Salt Lake City

    There IS racism, sexism and homophobia its part of the make up of our nation. I wish that we could overcome all our "phobias" (since that is what prejudice is) but we must face reality. People who say there is no prejudice are not living in the 'real world'.

    Sadly, according to latest polls, the vast majority of Americans consider themselves Christians. God help us!

    June 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm |
  4. Srinivasan J

    Ofcourse, the Republicans would want to raise the racist card. A dying man will clutch at any straw.

    Bangalore, India

    June 24, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    If we let racism determine who will be the next president (sexism already downed one candidate) then we deserve the bad opinion of us that European countries hold How many times do we have to fight the battle of racism and equal rights and opportunity before it becomes a reality? I hate to think that after the race protests during the 60s along with the race riots that we are no better now than we were then – we're just quieter about it.. Discouraging to say the least.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 24, 2008 at 8:39 pm |
  6. Heather L.

    raffaello, I don't think that anyone is saying that whites did not commit racial atrocities, but they are not the only ones. No matter what the disproportionate percentages are, these crimes are not to be excused no matter who committed them or how often.

    I don't know how many years it has been since you were in high school, but they don't teach with those books any longer. In any case I am talking about the history of civilization at the college level at a state university.

    I have heard Obama speak for more than a couple of minutes and the longer I listen the more impossible it is to believed that so many people have been sucked in by his rhetoric.

    We shall see what November brings.

    June 24, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  7. Franky

    "An elitist feels a sense of superiority over others….. snobbery…."

    Ohhh, so that's what is called. So, I'm an elitist! LOL!!!!

    June 24, 2008 at 8:06 pm |
  8. Sam

    It's Pavlovian. When the news is slow, some RNC/527 agent or assign will always throw some garbage out to the media dogs with Obama's name hastily scrawled on it. The media will drool and chew on the INFO-STINK until it fades or some new garbage is thrown their way. The media has waning judgment, perspective. They'll report a fart in a windstorm.

    "Where have you gone . Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...."

    Oh, and the irony of Rove's country club remark: ' it' most likely wouldn't have admitted a black (or bi-racial) man until forced to by a court of law.

    Obama's not elitist, he worked and studied hard for every advantage he has: didn't inherit, didn't marry an heiress.

    June 24, 2008 at 8:02 pm |
  9. Larry

    Has Obama ever given the media a tour of the poverty-stricken slums where he grew uo in Hawaii?

    Obama could be the 1st Hawaiian-American president.

    June 24, 2008 at 7:50 pm |
  10. raffaello

    Actually Imus lost me years ago when his radio show aired a "Chappaquiddick" skit featuring sound effects of Mary Jo Kopechne drowning. Ever since then, I have found him to be reprehensible and useless, and certainly not worthy of any mention. As for Karl Rove, isn't he the guy that allowed Scooter Libby to take the fall? Another paragon of moral rectitude ...

    June 24, 2008 at 7:47 pm |
  11. Ratna, New York, NY

    Racism is unavoidable and it remains dormant within each of us, otherwise we are not human. But Don Imus and Karl Rove are actually publicly expressive about this. Sensationalistic?! Most Likely!

    June 24, 2008 at 7:33 pm |
  12. raffaello

    just to set the record straight historically – yes, all races commit atrocities but the white race has committed a disproportionately high percentage of them – what history books are you refering to? The ones you read in ninth grade? Try reading Chomsky or Howard Zinn if you want to know what been happening out there in our name.

    People hate Obama not because of his race but because he is different from them in other ways. Anyone who listens to him speak for more than a couple of minutes usually realizes what a great mind he has, and what a generous spirit.

    Corrosive fearmongers from the right, your day of reckoning is at hand. Come November, your stranglehold on American politics will be at an end.

    June 24, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  13. Red in Denver

    Heather L. -

    Reverse racism is one of those things the mainstream liberal media don't see as an issue.

    I'm reading "BIAS" by Bernard Goldberg. I believe it was published back in 2001, but I only became interested in reading it during this presidential election cycle.

    It is actually the first time I felt certain that the mainstream liberal media was actually slanting their reporting. "BIAS" is just confirming what I already knew to be true. (Sad, but true.)

    June 24, 2008 at 7:16 pm |
  14. Red in Denver

    * * * * * * * * * * * ATTENTION! * * * * * * * * * * *

    Being WEALTHY is not the same thing as being ELITIST. An elitist feels a sense of superiority over others..... snobbery....

    Just because someone was poor or underpriviledged as a child does not mean they can not CHANGE and become an elitist - The key is that they feel either individually or collectively superior to another group/class.

    June 24, 2008 at 7:12 pm |
  15. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    The Rove / Imus ticket?? Nah, you have the Republicans already!!!

    June 24, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  16. Red in Denver

    Wow! Some of the bloggers on here evidently have access to information that I'm unaware of.....

    Angie says all the lies/smears of Obama come from 'that slimeball', Rove. (Angie, what's the source of your information?)

    Sandra L. Johnson states that Sean Hannity is the biggest racist of all time. (Really, Sandra ? What exactly has Hannity done/said which makes you have this opinion? And, do you actually think he's a bigger racist than George Wallace or David Duke?)

    Cynthia seems to know the reason Imus asked the 'color' question. (Cynthia - How can you KNOW what another person's motivation is? You might ASSUME you know, but you can't truly know.)

    June 24, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  17. Heather L.

    Red in Denver, Good point, Rove's comments had nothing to do with race, but leave it to the media to turn it into a racial issue.

    Funny, how the media was willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt and didn't label him a racist for his "typical white person" and bitter gun toting voter remarks, but they are quick to jump on these comments and label them racist!

    June 24, 2008 at 6:59 pm |
  18. Heather L.

    Vince in CA, Finally a voice of reason! Obama is "coolly arrogant " because he knows that he can get away with it because almost everyone in the media will defend him no matter what he says or how he acts.

    It is incredible to me that these Obama supporters refuse to acknowledge that he is rich. These Limousine Liberals in the media and elsewhere support him because they know that his failed policies will never touch them and they could care less about us.

    The media allows Sharpton and Jackson to run rampant with their accusations of racism, but continue to hold whites to a different standard.

    For those who think that whites are the only ones who harbor hatred or have blood on their hands I suggest they open a world history book. Every race and nationality is guilty of committing these offenses.

    June 24, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  19. Red in Denver

    Will someone explain to me how Karl Rove's comments had anything to do with race?? Rove was branding Obama with the "elitist" label again - similar to Pat Buchanan's labelling him one of the "Harvard faculty lounge" - nothing at all to do with race. Their statements have to do with his inability to relate to the blue-collar/working class voter.

    June 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  20. Kent, Illinois

    Rove is an idiot.............no secret there. Soon as Bush is out of office we will see Rove prosecuted and talking to Bubba in the state pen.

    Obama was correct to warn everyone that the GOP will be coming at him with both barrels. I just don't understand why anyone cares what Rove has to say anymore..................us regular Joe's sure don't...................

    June 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm |
  21. Vince in CA

    Gary Chandler in Canada: I don't think what they said was stupid. It's their opinions. It's because they are white. If it had been Sharpton or Jackson it would have blown over or never made the news. Case in point: "White people hold us back and keep us down."
    Black people take our jobs and blame us for their problems."
    Both are about the same thing but which one sounds worse? Why?

    June 24, 2008 at 6:29 pm |
  22. Vince in CA

    bernice: Don't be jealous because McCain was able to afford it. Or maybe his wife (she has more money than him). Obama could have similar. I wonder how expensive the school is daughters go to is. You know it's not a Chicago public school. Look at the club Obama and his wife belong to. It's still a country club mentality...only a select few are welcomed in that share many of the same values. You can be poor and be an elitist. I know because I've lived with people like that. As long as they can find some things to look down on you about then they are happy.

    June 24, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  23. Vince in CA

    I hope people read this; it's important:
    Contrary to what many here believe...many of us believe Obama is an elitist. Country Club? Ask Obama's friends in San Francisco and Chicago. Just because it has the word "Country" in it doesn't mean it's a "good 'ol boys" club like I know you mean. It's ok to joke about country folk or southern (or Texan) politicians as stupid rednecks but a rich black man that try's to act like he has street cred can't be "elitist". I'm not racist. I'm a mixed breed also. But, I'm tired of this reverse racism. "Coolly Arrogant"? Just means being arrogant in a relaxed, calm manner. Trump comes to mind, but that's not racist is it. I think making yourself your own seal that greatly resembles the Presidents Seal is not only narcistic, but also pompous, disrespectful, and "coolly arrogant". It's liking counting your chickens before the eggs have hatched. And no that wasn't a Chicken George pun to all of you soft skinned individuals. I think you need to go to neighborhoods where white people get shot just for being white white. We have quite of few of them here in CA. Then you wouldn't applaud reverse racism so much.

    June 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  24. Cynthia

    If Karl Rove is interesting in talking so much, why doesn't he go to Capitol Hill and be sworn in to testify before Congress? I believe there is a difference between being arrogant and being confident in who you are and what you are capable of doing. I hope people now understand why Senator Obama did not take public financing – he is going to need it.

    Don Imus is only trying to back peddle out of what he said. You have to blame the powers that be for giving him a forum to continue to say the things that he says. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the next one.

    June 24, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  25. Sandra L. Johnson

    Karl Rove is a product of Sean Hannity who is the biggest racist of all times. They both deserve each other , Karl Rove is very jealous of Barack Obama and that is truly a shame. As a black I have not ever been racist, how can I. As a child of God It would make my teeth clinch to feel hate and prejudice against another race. I dont have nothing but love for those who hate because of ones ethnic makeup, and I am not just talking about one group of people, I am talking about each and every one that hates.

    June 24, 2008 at 5:42 pm |
  26. Believeitornot

    Obama, Barack Obama (say it in James Bonds voice)

    "Shaken not stirred" although a personal preference doesn't equal "coolly arrogant". I think Rove is projecting all over the place he would die to be "the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette". Instead Rove openly stands at podiums and in front of massive crowds and makes snide comments about everyone who can capture an audience without begging for one.

    Trying to sell Obama to all who want to believe as the "stereotypical uppity negro" - coolly renigg is just what an "uncooly arrogant prejudiced undercover klans would state.

    Get a life Rove, get a life.

    June 24, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  27. ANGIE

    rove hes the one obama can thank about smearing him and all the lies and rumors and e mails spread about obama is all coming from and came from that slimeball rove

    June 24, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  28. Jon G from Texas

    Black people aren't racist? Please! Whenever any person accepts that they can or can't do something better or worse than another person based on race alone, they are being racist. You see examples of this all the time in our culture, "White men can't jump, dance, or run", "White men have no rhythm", "Black people are low-class, as are Latinos and Latinas", "Asians can't drive", etc. I'm tired of other people calling other people racist, especially when they generalize that everyone of a particular race believes that particular thing (btw, your comment, Mr. Stokes, is racist in addition to being fallicious). And let us not forget what those peoples you mention have done in return to us (PS, "the jews" are not a race, as Hitler and Goebbels would have you believe).

    Also, I agree with Mr. Chandler in Canada, this is not what i expect out of this blog. If I wanted drama, I'd turn on the telenovelas. I come here because I want news and politics. That being said, Don Imus should largely be ignored. In addition to being a shock jock, he is also a relic from a time past, just like Rev. Sharpton. If Rev. Sharpton was smart and actually trying for racial equality he'd stop creating controversy, and allow people to ignore race, and rebuke (on their own) those persons who choose to focus on it. You want to talk about evolution, there's the next step.

    June 24, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  29. bernice

    I think that Rove gave a very apt description off Johnny McCain with his, count them 9 yes 9 homes........ Think John might have some country club memberships????

    June 24, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  30. Tracey Anderson - Boston, MA

    Why does anyone listen to Karl Rove anyway? He's a has-been, jerk, liar and a dunm-ass. Maybe if you ignore him he will go away.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:48 pm |

    Seems to me that Barclay Palmer assuming there are NO black members of country clubs across the country is a bit condescending. When will the liberals at CNN accept the fact that yes, there are rich black people in this country and – GET THIS – they hang out with rich white people! And here's a news flash for the folks at Anderson Cooper: not all black people fit your stereotype.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  32. Melissa

    @ Chris Stokes even though I'm Asian, I find your comment "Its always white people being racist" to be very ignorant and racist. A car with six black youths pulled up next to mine at a stop light and yelled chink, chang and Lucy Liu at me through my open window. When I ignored them, they threw stuff at my car and drove away. When I was at an outdoor concert and skin heads were present (swastika tattoos and all) they left me alone. Who is racist now? Not all blacks, whites, etc. are racist – only a few. In an ideal world we'd all be equal but that won't happen if people like you keep bringing up the past and use it to crucify those in the present.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  33. Loretta from California

    Don Imus has been raised to believe what he believes. Carl Rove knows that no one with common sense believes that Senator Obama is an elites. One should only look at Senator Obama's humble beginnings, and the fact that he rejected wealth(employment at a prominent law firm) for community organization (working to improve the condition of the poor and down-trodden)

    As an African American, I see Roves statement (Lies) as more of a threat than I do Imus'

    June 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm |

    Imus' commits just breed ignorance. who would listen to him? he's really irrelevant and so is Karl. What's striking is there is this sense of jealously among our society of Barack. we've all witnessed the situation where people try to make you feel as though you are insulting them because of your accomplishments.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  35. Fay, CA

    I think it's disgusting that someone as heinous as Karl Rove has the gall to make disparaging remarks about ANYONE – shouldn't he be in jail or something?

    Don Imus is a boring, obnoxious fool who really doesn't rate the attention he's getting, but it's probably helping his ratings, which may have been the whole point of his stupid comment.

    June 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  36. jimmy keansburg nj

    it is a dog eat dog world chris, you want your gas, electronics, stocks, cash toys. Someone is paying the price. I think people are equally racist. just like the addage it takes all kinds to make the world go around. If you think there is not a street that a white person could walk down, think again. It is alot easier to accuse when you have never made a world changing decision with hard consequences. As for rove, barack and imus i say: rove- insignificant piece of humanity. we will all be better off when he is done. Barack- sounds great and i want to stick it to the "man" but solutions are pipe dreams, imus is that a live or dead picture?

    June 24, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  37. Terry

    I am a black man who lives in Washington D.C. I am not inclined to give Don Imus or Rove the benefit of the doubt when it comes to issues of racial sensitivity. However I think there was no doubt when it comes to the Imus comment. When you listen to the lines before the “What color is he question” it is clear that his explanation is plausible. When you look at Rove’s comment, and I must admit that I have never been to a Country Club, it seems that he is being very critical of Obama but racist? I truly believe that there is enough real racism in this nation that we do not have to make it up. Let’s try and be a little fair.

    June 24, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  38. Jay

    Rove is a criminal... his day will come.

    June 24, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  39. JC- Los Angeles

    Barclay, I hope you are note suggesting that public hacks like Don Imus and Karl Rove represent the American public's take on humanity or race. Like Toto showed us in The Wizard of Oz, just pull back the curtain and the suppossedly powerful will be exposed as frauds. Just take a look at the public figures we have recently had to deal with: Greenspan? great job hack. Wall Street? wonderful job hacks. Mortgage Banks? pathetic, fraudulent hacks. Executives? highly paid hacks. FEMA (Brownie)? Equestrian hack I believe. Bush? hack for the ages. I often wondered why Barack Obama didn't run as the multi-cultural candidate that reflects the diversity in today's America. Once we were exposed to Rev. Wright (hack) and Rev. Pfleger (hack), it became clear that perhaps the reason was because he disproportionately identifies with one race over others. The American people deserve leaders that actually lead, directors that actually direct and Presidents that are actually presidential. I'm hopeful our next leader breaks this historic run of imcompetence.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  40. Lisa

    Must be a slow news day. Wonder how those folks are faring who have lost their homes to floods. What about the folks in Manchester, KY who cannot afford gas to go to a job interview.

    Rather, we get a contrived controversy from Imus' statements and Rove speaks saying nothing more than basically politicians represent the wealthy and no one else. Much ado about nothing.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  41. Chris Stokes

    Lets not skip over the fact that Don Imus is a racist. Black people arent the ones saying racist things about other peoples race. Its always white people being racist. White people have so much hate and blood on thier hands becuase we think were better than everyone else. Why is that? Is it becuase we killed off the indians, enslaved the africans, tortured the jews, bombed the asians. When will we get over ourselves and realize we are all equal. We wont live forever people. Evolution will oneday defeat our hate.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  42. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    What's next, blame Don Imus for slavery? He's a shock jock. He insults people. That's what he does. If people don't like him, change the channel. i just wish we could change the channel on Sharpton. He's actually incited riots in which people died. Why is he still even around?

    June 24, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  43. Bev C NY

    The political pundits and media should just chill out!!! Imus did nothing wrong. Rove, on the other hand, is just a mouth with no brains or body attached to it (contrary to popular belief) – look at the idiot he put in the White House). Sharpton and Rove do not deserve the publicity they get. They thrive on controversy and discourse. Don't you know the best way to get back at someone is to just ignore them? They WILL go away (hopefully).

    June 24, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  44. Gary Chandler in Canada

    come on folks – sharpton is not even mentioned in this article. CNN should be ashamed of such poor 'journalism'.
    Starts you off with Imus, then jumps off a cliff to Rove. the title say 'racial', NOT 'stupid' comments.
    Both men made stupid comments, but only one was 'racial'.

    June 24, 2008 at 1:12 pm |
  45. Rose

    Why all tlhe criticism on Don Imus? Did you not hear the insutling remarks made by Johnny Miller concerning Rocco Mediate? Shouldn't Johnny Miller have lost his broadcasting job?

    June 24, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  46. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Is Tuesday CNN's tabloid, boost ratings day? First Mooney's Political Ticker post on a Dobson comment that should be reserved for 'tabloids', then this drivel.
    Sure Rove's comments are idiotic and possibly a 'class' issue, but they have nothing to do with 'race', and WHY do you think it clumps in with what Imus said?
    Is the Editor who keeps CNN's posts to high standard on a day off?
    With America struggling to get up to speed with the rest of the world on race and gender issues, why is the respected CNN printing inflammatory nonsense like this?
    Imus – athlete – race , Rove – politician – country club <<<< the connection IS?
    suggestion – do a post on Imus, another on ... forget it ...........

    June 24, 2008 at 1:05 pm |
  47. James Charles

    I can't believe how those two men Imus and Carl Rove talking this way in a great moment like that .They are the truly idiots who don't understand the meaning of democraty. Let's pray for them !

    June 24, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  48. CaseyJPS - California

    Don Imus...a loose cannon. He vocalizes the dining table conversation that many are too gutless to say publicly (it's only OK to think and say these remarks when "no one" is lstening, especially if your kids are listening).

    This is the person Karl Rove aspires to be, but will never become...
    “He’s the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by.”
    Although, I'm certain he has the 'snide comments about everyone who passes by' down pat.

    If Karl Rove really believes what he states, then Republicans won't have any issues when they cast their votes for Obama in the fall. It will be just like voting for themselves.

    June 24, 2008 at 12:47 pm |
  49. Alex

    Like Rahni said, both those clowns have no credibility on any issues of race (actually on just about anything). I think it best for all if they both just shut up!

    June 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  50. Rahni Connecticut

    Karl Rove and Don Imus are both idiots. And idiots needs to be remove from broadcasting and polical landscapes.

    Rahni, Connecticut

    June 24, 2008 at 12:18 pm |
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