COMMENTS: Revisiting the Sixties

ABC and CBS focused on candidates rather than issues. CBS' Bill Whitaker brought us an update on Republican Mitt Romney, second in Iowa, second in New Hampshire, hoping for first in Michigan, the state his father governed in the 1960s. Romney's "greatest ally," noted Whitaker, is "chaos…a war of attrition that leaves them all bloodied limping into Super Tuesday with no clear leader of the pack."

On ABC, Kate Snow (embargoed link) examined a possible backlash of "negative publicity and bad feeling" against Hillary Rodham Clinton among African-Americans for inartful criticisms of Barack Obama. Snow referred to the circulation of an e-mail "with a detailed list of comments from the Clintons" including a characterization of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, as the beginning of the realization of Martin Luther King's dream. The vague Snow mentioned only unattributed expressions of "outrage" and unsourced references to "racial code words." But there must be something to the discontent: in just one day husband Bill "dialed into no less than four top radio programs with predominantly African-American listeners."

NBC took the European view of the "real buzz" over the Democratic race. Jim Maceda filed from Berlin where the book Barack Obama: the Black Kennedy by Christoph von Marschall is flying off the shelves. And, yes, Maceda did illustrate his story with that 1963 soundbite: "Ich bin ein Berliner." Or as they say in English: "I am a jam doughnut."


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