Missed Opportunity for Obama

Barack, Barack, Barack. What is it going to take for this guy to take a gimme?

According to a story in our paper yesterday by Alexander Bolton, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was asked a year ago by the Congressional Black Caucus to do a fundraiser for the CBC political action committee and still hasn't found the time.

Has Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) found the time? You betcha. Why would
she pass up the chance to help? And Bill Clinton has found the time to lend a hand as well — no surprise there — with plans to chair a charity golf and tennis tournament organized by the spouses of Black Caucus members.

Sure, Obama contributed $5,000 in 2006 from his coffers to the CBC's PAC, but that doesn't sound like enough to CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.). She said of the fundraiser, "I think it's an important gesture... I think he should have done it. I do understand he's now in the thick of what he's doing and I find that unfortunate." Kilpatrick then added, correctly, "I think it would have been a benefit to him as well as to the CBC."

Indeed, CBC members represent roughly 40 million people in 26 states, and Obama is missing an opportunity to engage black voters, many of whom feel pride in his candidacy. The New York Times reported last week that Clinton is asking African-American politicians in New York directly for their support and for their endorsements. Many of them are inspired by Obama's candidacy, but they haven't heard from him. Obama could gain enormously from cutting into Clinton's African-American support, but he's not giving this task the presidential effort it requires. You've got to get up early in the morning to beat the Clintons; Obama looks like he's sleeping in.