Reaction to Carter, Pelosi comments show media reluctant to discuss racism, extremism in Obama attacks

››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN

In responding to recent comments from former President Jimmy Carter and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that some of the strongest criticism of President Obama is race-based or could lead to extremism, several media figures have criticized those comments without addressing the specifics of recent race-based and extremist attacks against Obama, in effect avoiding the discussion of the role race has played in these attacks or the possibility that opponents' rhetoric has become, in some cases, extreme. By contrast, Salon.com editor-in-chief Joan Walsh recently wrote that while she doesn't "think Obama's drop in white approval is mainly about racism ... to deny the role race is playing in stirring up the Birthers and Deathers and the Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fan is silly."

Carter and Pelosi decried the "intensely demonstrated animosity" of attacks

Carter: "an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward" Obama due to his race. Carter stated: "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American. I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that share the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans. That racism in connection still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South, but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply." [NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams, 9/15/09 (retrieved from the Nexis database)]

Pelosi compares "some of the language" to '70s "rhetoric" that "created a climate in which ... violence took place." From Pelosi's September 17 press conference:

QUESTION: Madam Speaker, in terms of the political tone, the tone of the debate, [House Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer said earlier this week he thought it was the most vitriolic since '93-'94. And around that time, we also saw acts of domestic violence, domestic terrorism. How concerned are you about the tone of the political debate in terms of people talking about anti-government rhetoric and so on and the possibility of violence?

PELOSI: Well, I think we all have to take responsibility for our actions and our words. The -- we are a free country, and this balance between freedom and safety is one that we have to carefully balance.

I have concerns about some of the language that is being used, because I saw -- I saw this myself in the late '70s in San Francisco. This kind of rhetoric was very frightening, and it gave -- it created a climate in which we -- violence took place.

And so I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, so that understanding that some of the people -- the ears that are -- it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume.

But, again, our country is great because people can say what they think and they believe. But I also think that they have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause.

Recent race-based attacks on President Obama

9/12 protesters claim Obama is from Kenya, call him "a Lyin' African." Media Matters for America's John Santore (via NineTwelvePhotos) and Think Progress have recently highlighted some of the race-based and extremist signs (and attendees) at the Glenn Beck's 9/12 protest in Washington, D.C. These signs include: claims that Obama was born in Kenya and an image of Obama as a witch doctor, as well as references to Obama as "a Lyin' African," "the long legged mack daddy" and "Obama bin Laden."

rally1

rally2

rally3

rally4

rally5

Beck calls Obama a "racist" with "a deep-seated hatred for white people." Beck said on Fox News' Fox & Friends that Obama is a "racist" and has "exposed himself as a guy" who has "a deep-seated hatred for white people." [Fox & Friends, 7/28/09]

Hannity asks, "Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?" Hannity asserted on the former Fox News show Hannity & Colmes: "As more is learned about Barack Obama's positions, his past, and his affiliations, it seems that the 'change' candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him," and later added, "It's only fair to ask: Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?" [Hannity & Colmes, 3/02/08]

Limbaugh said "[I]n Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering." Referring to an incident in Illinois in which a white student was allegedly assaulted by black students on a school bus, Limbaugh said: "[I]n Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/15/09]

Limbaugh said the way to "get promoted in the Barack Obama administration" is "by hating white people." On his radio show, Limbaugh said, "I care about whether she's [Sonia Sotomayor's] qualified, and I think she's disqualified herself. Not only does she lack the often-discussed appropriate judicial temperament, it's worse than that. She brings a form of bigotry or racism to the court. I don't care -- we're not supposed to say it, we're supposed to pretend it didn't happen, we're supposed to look at other things, but it's the elephant in the room. The real question here that needs to be asked -- and nobody on our side, from a columnist to a TV commentator to anybody in our party has the guts to ask: How can a president nominate such a candidate? And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive." Limbaugh also stated that the way to "get promoted in the Barack Obama administration" is "by hating white people." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/29/09]

Race-based attacks on Obama from local GOP officials, activists. Several Republican politicians and activists at the local level have recently been criticized for sending emails attacking the Obamas on racial grounds. For example, a Republican aide in the Tennessee Senate reportedly sent a picture of two cartoon eyeballs set against a black background meant to depict Obama's presidential portrait; a vice chairman of the Collin County, Texas, Republican Party sent an email that reportedly read, in part: "Another terrific idea from the black house and its minions"; and the Merced Sun-Star wrote of several emails that had been sent by Gary Frago, a councilman from Atwater City, California: "Some compared Obama to O.J. Simpson while others suggested that 'nigger rigs' should now be called 'presidential solutions.' Perhaps the most overboard e-mail was sent on Jan. 15. It read: 'Breaking News Playboy just offered Sarah Palin $1 million to pose nude in the January issue. Michelle Obama got the same offer from National Geographic.' Frago admitted sending the e-mails, but showed no regret."

Obama's inauguration unleashes conservative culture of extremism

Conservative media unleash violent, revolutionary rhetoric. Since Obama's inauguration, Media Matters has documented numerous instances in which conservative media figures have called for a "revolution" or have invoked violent rhetoric while discussing the Obama administration or government in general. In addition to encouraging violence, such violent rhetoric has also included suggesting Obama's policies were doing violence to the American people and depicting Obama as a rapist, spousal abuser, or mobster.

Conservatives warn of social-fasc-commun-Nazi-McCarthy-Marxism. Media Matters has documented numerous examples of conservatives in the media warning of socialism, fascism, communism, Nazism, McCarthyism, and Marxism, or using such language to describe Obama or other Democrats.

Black helicopter alert! Conservative media suggest Obama supporting one-world government. Since Obama's inauguration, Media Matters has documented many examples in which conservative media figures have asserted or suggested that U.S. sovereignty may give way to a one-world government.

Pandemic: Limbaugh's Obama Derangement Syndrome spreads through conservative media. Numerous conservative media figures have followed Limbaugh's lead in making increasingly dire predictions about the consequences that policies sought by Obama and other progressives might have for the country.

Instead of discussing those attacks, media criticize or dismiss Carter, Pelosi

The New York Times' David Brooks: "I can't measure how much racism is in there. But my impression is that race is largely beside the point." Brooks wrote: "And yet we live in a nation in which some people see every conflict through the prism of race. So over the past few days, many people, from Jimmy Carter on down, have argued that the hostility to President Obama is driven by racism. Some have argued that tea party slogans like "I Want My Country Back" are code words for white supremacy. Others say incivility on Capitol Hill is magnified by Obama's dark skin. Well, I don't have a machine for peering into the souls of Obama's critics, so I can't measure how much racism is in there. But my impression is that race is largely beside the point. There are other, equally important strains in American history that are far more germane to the current conflicts." [The New York Times, 9/18/09]

MSNBC's Pat Buchanan: "[W]hat Carter did and Nancy Pelosi did is not healthy for the country" Buchanan stated: "[I]t's not healthy. I think what Carter did and Nancy Pelosi did is not healthy for the country to accuse basically a huge number of Americans of racism or start invoking the violence that we saw happen in the '60s or in the '70s in San Francisco. Those are bad references." [MSNBC's Morning Joe, 9/18/09]

Buchanan: "[T]his debate has really been poisoned" by Carter. Buchanan said: "But I can tell you, Joe, this debate, I have to say, has really been poisoned, I think, by what former President Carter did, and just -- and what I think was something which was in two parts malevolent and ignorant in attacking all the people who have come out to oppose it somehow as racist, when half of those people were with Barack Obama up until a couple of months ago." [Morning Joe, 9/17/09]

NBC's Chuck Todd: Pelosi was "very serious" but "is this ... where this debate should be going?" Todd said: "I have a feeling it's going to put the president in a tight spot today. You know, I'm not going to pretend to know what David's going to ask him. But I'll tell you, it does seem at some point the president's got to tell his own supporters, "Enough of this stuff," that no matter what you believe, how well-meaning you think you're being, that it doesn't help the situation, it doesn't help the debate, it ends up becoming a distraction to the point of, we're having now a debate over the debate about the debate. I mean, and while it would seem silly -- that's a heavy charge, and it's one no one wants to believe she just threw out there. I don't -- I think she was being very serious about what she believed. But was that the -- are we -- is this what we should be going -- where this debate should be going?" [Morning Joe, 9/18/09]

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski: Carter statement "ridiculous. ... I don't understand what the former president is doing." Brzezinski stated: "[W]e feel that there is a problem in this country with race -- of course we do. But it has nothing to do with the debate in Washington over heath care and all the other issues that might be leading to the decline in the president's approval ratings. It's ridiculous, and I don't understand what the former president is doing." [Morning Joe, 9/17/09]

NPR's Mara Liasson: "I think Jimmy Carter is working for the Republican National Committee." Liasson said: I think Jimmy Carter is working for the Republican National Committee. I really think until comments like that in this particular dustup, the White House had the upper hand. Joe Wilson was clearly out of line. It was inappropriate, in clear violation of the House rule to call the president a liar, to impugn the president's motives. Members of the House's words have been taken down for many, many years for transgressions like that or less, by Republican speakers, too. In any event, then Jimmy Carter, you know, stands up and gives this interview and says it's racial. The White House doesn't believe that. The White House doesn't want that to be the line of argument here, and I think that he's really hurt the president." [Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, 9/16/09]

The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer: Carter's comments are "stupid," "offensive," and "lacking in any evidence." Krauthammer said of Carter's comments: "Look, this charge is so stupid. It is also so offensive, and it's lacking in any evidence of any kind that I think it's -- Mara is right. This only helps the Republicans, and that's why the White House is not playing into it. It will increase the intensity of the opponents of Obama health care and the policies, because people don't want to be told when they genuinely disagree with a policy that the reason is the lowest of all reasons, namely, racism." [Special Report, 9/16/09]

The Washington Post's Charles Lane: Carter "has no basis for" his claims. Lane wrote: "I would never absolve every single Obama critic of racism, basically for the reasons Carter suggests. I would even add that Obama probably gets extra hostility in some quarters based on his 'foreign'-sounding name and his father's Muslim background. But just as a reasonable person could find fault with Israel in the Middle East, so can a reasonable person find fault with the policies President Obama is pursuing in the White House. And just as I have no idea what percentage of Carter's incessant condemnation of Israel is malicious or not, he has no basis for determining that 'there is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African American should not be president.' ... If an inveterate white belief that an African American should not be president explains today's public mood -- as opposed to, say, the unemployment rate or the budget deficit -- how come 57 percent of whites approved of Obama's job performance as recently as the 100-day mark of his presidency, according to the Gallup Poll?" [The Washington Post, 9/16/09]

Politico's Roger Simon: Carter's claim "over the top." Simon stated: "That's right. He lost the white vote by 12 percentage points, a landslide. It's not like everyone in America voted for this guy. That doesn't mean, if you voted for him, you weren't against him because of race. Now you have Jimmy Carter, who seems determined never to be accused of malaise, making the over the top statements and saying they're an overwhelming portion of those who are intensely demonstrated against Barack Obama, are racist, an overwhelming portion. I don't think it's an overwhelming portion. I think it's some of them." He later added: "I think some of it is race. But, you know, let me just examine this in the terms of Joe Wilson. When Sarah Palin talked about death panels, no one said she was a racist." [MSNBC's Hardball, 9/16/09]

Walsh: "[T]o deny the role race is playing in stirring up the Birthers and Deathers and the Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fans is silly"

In a September 15 blog post, Walsh wrote:

But if you read the 800 letters on my "Blackening of the President" piece, you'll mostly hear that race doesn't play a role in Obama's problems. What I found astonishing was the extent to which so many on the left and right seemed to agree that Obama's troubles with white voters are entirely policy, and have nothing to do with race. From the right, his white numbers are declining sharply because he really is a socialist; from the left, it's because he's a crypto-Republican and betrayed us on FISA, torture and maybe now the public option. Had they clicked through to the Pew poll I linked to, my racism-denying friends on the left would have been sadly disappointed. Obama's support has fallen much more among conservative Democrats than liberal Democrats, 12 points to 6 points. Pew didn't break that down by race, but it's an interesting data point.

Finally, I also said multiple times that I don't think Obama's drop in white approval is mainly about racism. It very likely reflects a predictable coming back down to earth for a black president who got 43 percent of the white vote. But to deny the role race is playing in stirring up the Birthers and Deathers and the Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fans is silly.

Transcripts

From the September 18 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

JOE SCARBOROUGH (co-host): Chuck Todd, let me ask you about Nancy Pelosi. She's sort of talking about violence, of course, that happened around San Francisco City Hall, the city where we are, back in the 1970s.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: What's your take on Nancy Pelosi getting emotional and talking about her concerns that history might be repeated in a very ugly way?

TODD: Well, I have a feeling it's going to put the president in a tight spot today. You know, I'm not going to pretend to know what David's going to ask him. But I'll tell you, it does seem at some point the president's got to tell his own supporters, "Enough of this stuff," that no matter what you believe, how well-meaning you think you're being, that it doesn't help the situation, it doesn't help the debate, it ends up becoming a distraction to the point of, we're having now a debate over the debate about the debate. I mean, and while it would seem silly -- that's a heavy charge, and it's one no one wants to believe she just threw out there. I don't -- I think she was being very serious about what she believed. But was that the -- are we -- is this what we should be going -- where this debate should be going?

BRZEZINSKI: Timing certainly is everything, Chuck. And I'd like to ask David, in light of the fact the president is doing Meet the Press on Sunday as well as trying to be seen on many other Sunday morning platforms, what's going to be the lead questions on all these shows? Is it going to be former President Carter? Is it going to be Nancy Pelosi? Or is he finally going to get to health care? It seems like there are some major distractions taking place. And I wonder if they're happy about this strategically.

DAVID GREGORY (host of NBC's Meet the Press): Well, I think, you know -- I think the way they approach this is the president does have a message to get out on health care in particular. What's so important is that he can try to drive up public support. Public support means the ability for more pressure on the part of the White House on these wavering senators and other congressmen about how they're going to vote on health care.

Look, you've got a lot of issues out there right now. And I think to Speaker Pelosi's point, there is -- it's interesting. On the program recently, I interviewed Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who said that this is not really about health care. It's about a feeling among some -- but it's not -- just not a few. There's millions of Americans who feel that the government is out of control right now. And that's a very precarious feeling, and it means that there can be a lot of political protest, and it can certainly create an atmosphere where there could be even worse than that.

I mean, we've seen this at various points in our history where emotions are raw. And there's no question about it. The way citizens feel about the role of their government is powerful. That goes back to the founding of our republic and go -- courses through historic events in our time, even our recent history. So, these are real issues.

TODD: And it matches --

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, Harold --

TODD: And it usually matches an economic downturn. I mean, I think --

GREGORY: Absolutely.

TODD: -- to go to David's point, it's this lack of control that I think people feel in their own lives then makes them even more sensitive when they feel like, "Well, what's going on over here in Washington?"

SCARBOROUGH: Harold, let me ask you. Do you agree with Chuck that the White House probably views Nancy Pelosi's statements and Jimmy Carter's statements as distractions in this health care debate?

HAROLD FORD JR. (MSNBC political analyst): They would have to, even if there's some truth to what both may be saying. It has very little to do with trying to advance a health care bill, trying to get back to an energy reform bill, and even to the financial reform bill the president wants. I hope -- and I was curious to hear David make the point what he's going -- I know Mika asked what will he focus on. I mean, I would imagine if I were President Obama and I were David Axelrod and Robert Gibbs and Rahm Emanuel, I'd want this conversation to be on health care. We talk about where we go from the Baucus bill, if indeed it's a foundation. How you hold the moderates together and how you pull a few Republicans.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, there's no doubt about it.

FORD: The more we talk about these distractions, the worse it is for the White House.

SCARBOROUGH: And they are distractions. And Pat Buchanan, when you have Nancy Pelosi -- again, the same person that used the term "un-American" to talk about tactics at town hall meetings, who used the words "villain" and I think it was "evil" or something like that -- and Harry Reid calling Americans evil, all you're doing is stirring up -- as Chuck said, and I love how he said this -- a debate about the debate. That's not helpful for the White House or the Democratic cause.

BUCHANAN: No, it's not healthy. I think what Carter did and Nancy Pelosi did is not healthy for the country to accuse basically a huge number of Americans of racism or start invoking the violence that we saw happen in the '60s or in the '70s in San Francisco. Those are bad references.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. I don't get it.

SCARBOROUGH: And speaking of unhealthy --

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah.

SCARBOROUGH: -- we want to thank Chuck Todd at the White House for being with us. Right theres, brother.

From the September 17 edition of Morning Joe:

BUCHANAN: But I can tell you, Joe, this debate, I have to say, has really been poisoned, I think, by what former President Carter did, and just -- and what I think was something which was in two parts malevolent and ignorant in attacking all the people who have come out to oppose it somehow as racist, when half of those people were with Barack Obama up until a couple of months ago.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, he certainly was, and we've talked about it for some time. And yesterday, Chuck Todd from the White House said that the White House certainly had to be concerned with the 20 percent of Americans that supported the president nine months ago don't support him now. But these 20 percent are the people that are in play, that the White House wants back, and when Jimmy Carter suggests that they may be fueled by racism, that makes the White House's job that much more difficult --

BRZEZINSKI: You know, again --

SCARBOROUGH: -- but the president's going out there to deliver his message, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: Yes, and we should talk about that. But on the issue of racism, again, we feel that there is a problem in this country with race -- of course we do.

SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it.

BRZEZINSKI: But it has nothing to do with the debate in Washington over heath care and all the other issues that might be leading to the decline in the president's approval ratings. It's ridiculous, and I don't understand what the former president is doing.

From the September 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier (retrieved from the Nexis database):

BRET BAIER: Former President Jimmy Carter weighing in on critics of President Obama, adding this, that he believes the criticism has bubbled up to the surface because of a he belief among white Americans, white people, many of them not just in the south but around the country, that African- Americans, quote, "are not qualified to lead this great country."

We are back with the panel. Mara, today the White House came out and said again, Robert Gibbs saying the president does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin, but this is a...

MARA LIASSON: I think Jimmy Carter is working for the Republican national committee. I really think until comments like that in this particular dustup, the White House had the upper hand.

Joe Wilson was clearly out of line. It was inappropriate...

BAIER: The congressman from South Carolina who yelled "You lie!"

LIASSON: ... in clear violation of the House rule to call the president a liar, to impugn the president's motives. Members of the House's words have been taken down for many, many years for transgressions like that or less, by Republican speakers, too.

In any event, then Jimmy Carter, you know, stands up and gives this interview and says it's racial. The White House doesn't believe that. The White House doesn't want that to be the line of argument here, and I think that he's really hurt the president.

BAIER: The White House doesn't, Charles, but others have been talking like this in recent days. I mean, we just talked about it last night on the panel.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think there are people who genuinely believe this, and then I think there are a lot of people who don't but who want to use it as a way to stifle opposition and debate.

Look, in the Bush years, we were told that dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Indeed, Obama himself as a candidate once used a formulation like that in talking about his refusal to wear a flag pin.

And now, dissent used to be the highest form of patriotism, and now it's the lowest form of racism. In August and over the summer it was a form of mob rule, a demonstration of anger, unruliness, anarchy, and now it has gotten worse.

Look, this charge is so stupid. It is also so offensive, and it's lacking in any evidence of any kind that I think it's -- Mara is right. This only helps the Republicans, and that's why the White House is not playing into it.

It will increase the intensity of the opponents of Obama health care and the policies, because people don't want to be told when they genuinely disagree with a policy that the reason is the lowest of all reasons, namely, racism.

From the September 16 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews (from Nexis):

SIMON: It's terrible. Jimmy Carter is describing a world that for two and half years Barack Obama and his staff have said does not exist in America. We exist in a country where race really doesn't divide us, where it's not that important, where we can overlook it.

MATTHEWS: Where's that world? Where is that country?

SIMON: We thought it was America. We elected the first African-American president.

GREGORY: How early was it in the campaign when we were having a conversation about than an African-American really be elected president? Can he get the nomination? Can he really win in the general? Now he's president. He got elected. He crossed that barrier. Now it's, can he really be accepted?

These are not questions the White House wants to be focused on right now.

MATTHEWS: I know, because we have about 43 percent of the country, white people voted for him.

SIMON: That's right. He lost the white vote by 12 percentage points, a landslide. It's not like everyone in America voted for this guy. That doesn't mean, if you voted for him, you weren't against him because of race. Now you have Jimmy Carter, who seems determined never to be accused of malaise, making the over the top statements and saying they're an overwhelming portion of those who are intensely demonstrated against Barack Obama, are racist, an overwhelming portion.

I don't think it's an overwhelming portion. I think it's some of them. I don't see how he quantifies that, and says now -

MATTHEWS: Let me put to you. When Daily Kos polled people about this birther thing, is he one of us, is he an American? The regional breakdown was frighteningly dramatic. Most southerners either thought he was from some other country, or planet for all I know, but they didn't think he was from here. That was a geographical analysis.

So why do most southerners have a problem believing he was born here, if it isn't race? If it isn't race, why?

SIMON: I think some of it is race. But, you know, let me just examine this in the terms of Joe Wilson. When Sarah Palin talked about death panels, no one said she was a racist. When a guy shows up -- guys show up to speeches of Barack Obama in New Hampshire and Arizona carrying guns, no one said they were racist. When a white guy from South Carolina says you lie -

MATTHEWS: I think it all -- does the White House have a plan for changing the subject yet? Is there any way they can get off this?

GREGORY: The president is going to be giving a round of interviews.

MATTHEWS: One of them is going to be -- do you have a question ready? Can you share with us a question? Do you like this race issue? I guess that's a good question. Is this good for America?

GREGORY: I don't think the president thinks it's good for America at all. I also think this is part of something larger than race. This question of whether a lot of Americans think the president is legitimate, whether they think government is out of control. I think a lot of that is being fused together now.

SIMON: Barack Obama said it was a convergence of three things: the worst recession since the Great Depression, a legitimate difference on the size and scope of government, and a 24/7 media culture that emphasizes the shrillest voices.

MATTHEWS: Part of that 24/7 is this second, and you're on. Thank you, David Gregory. Thank you, Roger Simon.

From the September 15 edition of NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams (from Nexis):

BRIAN WILLIAMS: This morning in Atlanta, former president Carter spoke up and spoke out against what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama.

We were in Atlanta to interview President Carter at the Carter Center for air at a later date in connection with his upcoming 85th birthday. During the interview, we talked about what some see as a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech since the election of President Obama.

A certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big tea party march on Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes. And President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.

FORMER PRES. JIMMY CARTER: I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American.

I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shared the South's attitude toward minority groups, at that time particularly African-Americans, that racism in connection (ph) still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.

It's an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.

WILLIAMS: President Carter in Atlanta today.

He went on to say that because of President Obama's personal qualities, he will be able to, quote, "triumph over the racist attitude that is the basis for the negative environment that we see so vividly demonstrated in public affairs in recent days," end of quote.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.