Distortions and Misrepresentations

I really wanted to move off of this racial tension storyline, but it is even more outrageous today than it was yesterday — those comments by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) are astonishing.

With all due respect to Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and a widely respected member of Congress of whom I am very fond, he owes apologies to BOTH Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Yesterday, as Obama was being the bigger boy and moving to tamp down the rhetoric on the race issue, Rangel went on television and got his facts disastrously wrong. He blamed Obama for starting the discussion (incorrect), saying that for Obama to "suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid." Also incorrect. But wait, he didn't stop there. "It's absolutely dumb to infer that Dr. King, alone, passed the legislation and signed it into law." Do I need to point out that this is also incorrect?

Why the aggressive and accusatory tone from someone who actually encouraged Obama to run for president and has acknowledged feeling "a lot of racial pride and identification" about his candidacy, according to a statement he made last spring to The New York Times?

Such an complete misrepresentation of the facts about the Obama-Clinton back-and-forth, in which Obama has barely engaged and sought first to end, has done a great disservice to Clinton. She is now scrambling to quell the damage with black voters already caused by comments from herself, her husband and now Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson.

With the ways things are going, if I were a Clinton donor, I would be asking the campaign whether or not it had a secret plot to help Barack Obama by peeling more black voters away from Clinton. At the very least, as I suggested in an earlier post, it is time for Surrogate Camp over at Team Clinton. Vigorous message training is sorely needed.

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After the Michigan primary, I will need questions about the GOP side of the racejoin me on the next ASK A.B., Friday, Jan. 18. Sorry the date keeps moving. We return to our regular Monday schedule on Jan. 28. Until then,
please be patient, and keep the submissions coming to askab@thehill.com.

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