COMMENTS: He Does Not Look Like Those Dead Presidents

Remember two weeks ago when Barack Obama joked on the stump about how he did not look like those dead Presidents on the banknotes and John McCain's campaign bristled at a perceived accusation of racebaiting. Back then ABC's Jake Tapper seemed to side with McCain: "If Obama was not suggesting that McCain and Republicans were going after him for his name and his race just what was he suggesting? And there was no satisfactory answer."

Now a hint at a satisfactory answer comes from Tapper's coverage of a post-mortem on Hillary Rodham Clinton's primary defeat in Atlantic Monthly magazine. Tapper quoted strategist Mark Penn recommending that Rodham Clinton attack Obama for his Kenyan-Hawaiian heritage and Indonesian upbringing: "His roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited." Rodham Clinton, it turns out, rejected Penn's xenophobic advice. Yet Tapper quoted McCain's latest campaign ad tagline The American President Americans Have Been Waiting For and heard insinuations that there is "something not quite American about Obama."

So the "satisfactory answer" about those dollar bills is that Obama was not defending against attacks that he is African-American but that he is not-quite-American--not playing the race card but, instead, laying a charge of nativism at McCain's door.

The day's other campaign coverage came from CBS anchor Katie Couric. She filed a long behind-the-scenes profile of Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama, who first met the candidate when she was deputy chief of staff in the Chicago mayor's office 17 years ago and hired his wife Michelle. Couric failed to find out what job in a possible Obama Administration Jarrett would fill yet already, the anchor claimed, Jarrett "just may be the most powerful woman in Chicago besides Oprah."


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