Monday, May 5, 2008

Is He For REAL?

So yesterday, I saw a post about some young people in Indiana holding up sexist signs (along with a photo so such a sign) outside the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Indiana, at which both Clinton and Obama spoke. An eye-witness report said that upper echelon members of Obama's campaign were there, saw the signs, and did nothing about them. Other Obama supporters thought they were funny. The point was the members of Obama's campaign doing nothing - that is what is most important. So, I wrote the Obama campaign and said that for them to tacitly approve of such sexist remarks about Senator Clinton did not reflect well on their campaign. Below is the form letter I received back. It had NOTHING to do with what I wrote. Oh - and I managed to stop myself from inserting snarky comments throughout. I thought you might like to come up with your own. So, here is Obama's response:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for sharing your observations on the tone of the dialogue in this campaign. This is an aspect of modern politics that understandably troubles many voters, and I take your comments seriously.

In the final stage of the primary campaign, candidates are seeking to contrast their positions and public record with those of their opponents. That is not only legitimate public discourse, it helps individual voters decide which candidate best reflects their aspirations for the country.

There is a distinction, however, between laying out differences between you and your opponents and “attacking” them personally. I have no interest in crossing that line. But, in my view, pointing out inconsistencies in terms of how people present themselves now versus what they were talking about years before is fair in a campaign with consequences of this magnitude.

We owe it to our country and our Party to put forward the best presidential nominee possible. And to do that, every candidate must be tested. They must answer tough questions, and tell the American people what they believe, even when it’s not the easiest thing to do politically. If we nominate a candidate who won’t explain his or her positions or can’t defend their record, that person will have a very difficult time against the Republican nominee.

Democrats need to present the American people with a fresh start and a clear choice next November. When I’m your nominee, my opponent won’t be able to say that I was for the war in Iraq before I was against it; or that I supported an extension of the Iraq war into Iran; or that I support the Bush-Cheney diplomacy of not talking to leaders we don’t like. And he won’t be able to say that I flip-flopped on something as fundamental as whether our nation should use torture.

The stakes are too high to leave it to the press and the pundits to define the candidates before voting and caucusing begins. That’s why I will continue to ask the other candidates tough questions and hold them to account for vague or inconsistent answers. And I welcome the same questions from them, and from you. No one’s perfect, so everyone needs to admit when they’re wrong, and show that they’ve learned from their mistakes.

The politics of hope doesn’t mean hoping you don’t get asked tough questions. It means that we debate our plans and our records openly, without the mean-spirited personal attacks that have plagued our politics for too long. It means that after a full and open debate, when all the facts are aired and all candidates have their say, the voters will decide.

I’m spending most of my campaign time this year talking to the American people about who I am and what I will do as President. I’ve set out a vision for a nation that is more united, healthier, better educated, more secure financially, safer at home, and more respected abroad. I’ve listened to America – to workers and farmers and policy experts – about how to achieve this vision, and developed policies to get us there.

I’ve done more than talk about change. I’ve made it happen during more than a decade as a legislator, as a community organizer, a civil rights lawyer, and a law professor. I’ve demonstrated the ability to practice the politics of hope and get real results. I’ve brought people together to achieve big goals when others said it couldn’t be done, brought a new level of transparency and openness to the Illinois government and Congress, and built the largest grassroots movement in the history of presidential politics with the most small donors and without money from lobbyists and special interests. To learn more about my accomplishments and proposals for the future, please visit

This is the leadership I will bring to America as president, and I hope you’ll look past the headlines and the political posturing and judge for yourself. It’s going to take millions of people united for change to fix our politics, so I hope you’ll join us.

Thank you again for contacting me.


Barack Obama

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