The fact that Don Imus hurt the Rutgers basketball team’s feelings isn’t exactly at the top of the agenda for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and some blacks are upset about that, the Boston Globe reports.
The episode is the first test of how Obama — who is of mixed-race background — is handling the contentious issue of race in his presidential campaign. Even as polls have shown other Democrats attracting a large share of the black vote, Obama has steered clear of the kind of activism symbolized by Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who were both highly visible in the Imus episode but whose aggressiveness on race issues has alienated some white voters in the past.
But with Obama battling other Democrats — most notably Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York — for the support of black voters, the candidate’s reticence on the Imus issue set off alarms yesterday among some black activists who are anxious to see him more forcefully push for racial justice.
The Globe’s analysis sees this approach as a conscious choice by Obama to be different from Sharpton and Jackson, but I would suggest that it might just be that there are more important things happening in the world and in his campaign — for instance, the spat with John McCain over Iraq this morning.