Michelle Obama (barackobama.com)
A blogger at Politico.com says presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama has “batted down” reports on the Internet that there exists a video of his wife using a “derogatory term for white people,” – reportedly “whitey” – and went further to criticize a reporter for even asking about it.
The report comes from blogger Ben Smith, who said Obama told a McClatchy reporter aboard his campaign plane the video story is just that – a story.
“We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,” Obama said, according to Smith’s commentary.
“That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it,” Obama said.
Smith reported Obama then was asked whether he knew it not to be true, and Obama replied that he already had answered.
“Frankly, my hope is people don’t play this game,” Obama was reported saying. “It is a destructive aspect of our politics. Simply because something appears in an e-mail, that should lend it no more credence than if you heard it on the corner. Presumably the job of the press is to not to go around and spread scurrilous rumors like this until there is actually anything, an iota, of substance or evidence that would substantiate it.”
Smith added, “Obama’s clearly right that this is how stories for which there’s no evidence at all make it into the public eye. So I’m not linking or detailing the rumor, since there’s just zero credible evidence for it. This is probably a silly old media vestige, of course; Google has no such standards. And Obama’s discussion of it is, more broadly, news: As he acknowledged yesterday, beating back whisper campaigns is perhaps the central challenge his campaign faces.”
An anonymous reader told Smith, “The things Michelle has actually said are bad enough, any more would just be overkill. The woman is cleary (sic) an angry and bitter soul.”
Another wrote, “Good for Obama! Put up or shut up! We need to end these STUPID stories They do nothing to help our troops, the ecomomy (sic) or our country.”
Michelle Obama already has established a reputation for controversial statements.
In a profile in the London Guardian, she was asked how she feels about Bill Clinton’s use of the phrase “fairytale” to describe her husband’s characterization of his position on the Iraq war, she first responded: “No.”
But, after a few seconds of contemplation, and gesturing with her fingernails, she told the reporter: “I want to rip his eyes out!”
Noticing an aide giving her a nervous look, she added: “Kidding! See, this is what gets me into trouble.”
In February, Obama set off a national firestorm with comments she made at a Milwaukee rally: “What we have learned over the past year is that hope is making a comeback. And let me tell you something – for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment.”
Probably one of the more complete explanations of the “rumor” appeared at Hillbuzz, another blogging site.
There, writers concluded the video, which has been reported on by NoQuarterUSA.net, if it exists, probably was made at the 2004 Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Conference in Chicago, and may have been made by ABC-7, because the station’s news anchors moderated a panel at the conference that Michelle Obama may have participated in.
“If ABC-7 does have tape from this panel discussion, they could solve this mystery … by releasing it all on their website – particularly the 30 minutes or so of Michelle Obama speaking – so we can see once and for all exactly what she said that day. The ABC-7 anchors who moderated could also come out and definitively say what Michelle Obama said on the panel (or Michelle could come out herself and recount what she said). That would get to the bottom of this,” said the Hillbuzz commentary.
If there is a video, it’s important, Hillbuzz wrote, because, “Obama has insisted on many occasions that Michelle is his most trusted and senior advisor: therefore, anything she thinks and says has great importance, because he has stated himself she is a tremendous influence on him and his decisions.
“That’s why it’s important to look for it now instead of waiting for the Republicans to bring this out whenever THEY choose,” Hillbuzz wrote.
The website said is sources revealed, “For about 30 minutes, Michelle Obama launched into a rant about the evils of America, and how America is to blame for the problems of Africa. Michelle personally blamed President Clinton for the deaths of millions of Africans and said America is responsible for the genocide of the Tutsis and other ethnic groups. She then launched into an attack on “whitey,” and talked about solutions to black on black crime in the realm of diverting those actions onto white America. Her rant was fueled by the crowd: they reacted strongly to what she said, so she got more passionate and enraged, and that’s when she completely loses it and says things that have made the mouths drop of everyone who’s seen this,” Hillbuzz reported.