At a Washington fundraiser Monday night, President Obama subtly played the race card, suggesting that Republican presidential candidates would deny people opportunity based on the color of their skin.
Here’s what the president said during the event before what a press pool reporter described as “an enthusiastic crowd of young supporters in ballroom of Capital Hilton Hotel.”
Everything we fought for during the last election is at stake in this election. The very core of what this country stands for is on the line — the basic promise that no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, this is a place where you could make it if you try. The notion that we’re all in this together, that we look out for one another — that’s at stake in this election. Don’t take my word for it. Watch some of these debates that have been going on up in New Hampshire.
The phrase “no matter what you look like” is a clear reference to race. Obama is indicating that if he loses the election, opportunity for those who are a certain color or ethnicity will be denied. He completes the thought by pointing to the debates in New Hampshire, associating the Republican candidates with the possibility of racial or ethnic discrimination.
This is not the first time Obama has used such a formulation. In remarks Oct. 12 to a group of Latinos, Obama said:
I believe America should be a place where you can always make it if you try; a place where every child, no matter what they look like, where they come from, should have a chance to succeed . . . I still believe in that America. I believe we can be that America again.
The implication here is that under George W. Bush, America became less of a place where one could make it “no matter what they look like.”
Michelle Obama, during an October fundraiser, also suggested Republican victory would lead to discrimination.
Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just the few at the top? Or will we give every child — every child — a chance to succeed, no matter where she’s from, or what she looks like, or how much money her parents are? Who are we? That’s what’s at stake here.
Obama’s comments Monday night are the latest sign that race, which Obama – much to his credit – and others were successful in minimizing as an issue in 2008, will become an unfortunate part of the 2012 campaign.
Some, including the Wall Street Journal, have accused Attorney General Eric Holder of practicing racial politics by attacking state voter ID laws as harmful to minorities. New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal last week ascribed racial motivations to political attacks by Republicans against Obama. Rosenthal and others have suggested that Republican candidates are sinisterly using code words for race in their remarks.