Sen. Barack Obama’s Philadelphia speech on race relations last month seemed to put the controversial remarks of his former pastor behind him. But three weeks later, there is evidence of lingering damage.
“It has not been defused,” says David Parker, a North Carolina Democratic Party official and unpledged superdelegate. He says his worries about Republicans questioning Sen. Obama’s patriotism prompted him to raise the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s remarks in conversations with both the Obama and Clinton campaigns.
“I’m concerned about seeing Willie Horton ads during the general election,” Mr. Parker says, referring to campaign ads that Republicans widely credited for helping defeat Michael Dukakis in 1988. Mr. Parker said the Wright controversy didn’t hurt his opinion of Mr. Obama.
National polls show the Illinois senator hasn’t suffered among Democratic primary voters. Contests in Pennsylvania on April 22, Indiana on May 6 and West Virginia on May 13 could serve as an important test. His performance among largely white, less-urban voters could show how well he can secure critical swing states in November.
Sen. Hillary Clinton has argued that she can better withstand Republican attacks. One of her senior advisers last week told the Talking Points Memo blog that he had raised the Wright issue with superdelegates. The campaign didn’t dispute the report. “[C]ertainly, as you recall, it was very heavily in the news and people, you know, sometimes have it on their minds,” Sen. Clinton told reporters last week.
Recent polls suggest that, in key swing states, the New York senator fares better in head-to-head matchups with Republican nominee Sen. John McCain than does Sen. Obama. In Ohio, Sen. Clinton led Sen. McCain 48% to 39%, while Sen. Obama led Sen. McCain 43% to 42% in Quinnipiac University polls conducted in the last week of March.
Flap knows the Jeremiah Wright flap has done serious damage to Obama and the Democrats. It has drawn the attention to voters of the inexperience of Barack AND Hillary.
If voters have NOT seen the God Damn America Wright videos, they will OVER AND OVER again this fall should Obama be the Democrat nominee.
McCain may very well have an easy time handling either of these candidates on GRAVITAS, EXPERIENCE and TRUSTWORTHINESS alone. Unless McCain self destructs with a personal scandal, the senior Senator from Arizona will be elected the next President.