Hillary Clinton’s Stumble Over Race

EDITED: 5/11/2015:

Mediate removed the clip of the Clinton town hall on CNN from its site. Here is that same clip, curated by a different outlet.

Source: Newsbusters

CNN and Tumblr co-sponsored a much-touted town hall with Hillary Clinton. The official subject was her new book, but the actual subject was her future presidential run. Undoubtedly one of the more cringeworthy moments to watch was when CNN Chief international Correspondent Christiane Amanpour asked Clinton about race:

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Senator Jay Rockefeller said recently and he suggested basically that some of the political opposition to President Obama could have something to do with the color of his skin. Do you agree with that? What do you think about that?

CLINTON: Well, I can’t read the mind of all of the opposition. But some of it is virulent, and really, in my view, you know, quite detached from the job that not only this president is doing but any president has to do. It’s a really hard job. And you’re not going to agree — I don’t care who you are — with everything any president does.

And there are many reasons why people are opposed to political figures. I felt when I ran in ’08 that there were people who were opposed to me because I was a woman. So, you have to really try to keep getting up everyday and doing the best you can. That’s what President Obama has done.

And he is trying — like the capture today, you know, that was months in the making. And he had to make the decision, once again, to send Americans into harm’s way to try to detain the leader of the attack against Benghazi. You know, he has to shut out a lot of the other stuff that’s going on to have the concentration to be able to make those hard choices.

So, if someone wants to dislike the president, remember, 60 percent is a landslide. If you get that kind of vote. That means 40 percent, four out of 10 people don’t like you. And you have to know that, because even if you get to 60 percent, which is hard to do, you’re operating on a margin where four out of 10 are never going to be happy or satisfied —


AMANPOUR: Do you think some of that is latent racism, vestiges of racism, as some people have said?

CLINTON: Well, I know that — I don’t want to — I don’t want to say that I verify that, because that would be generalizing too broadly. I believe that there are people who have trouble with ethnicity, with race, with gender, with sexual orientation, you name it. And therefore, they are not developing a reasoned opinion — even if it’s an opinion in opposition, but they are a reacting to not a visceral stereotypical basis. And that’s unfortunate.

Video Clippedfrom suppressed by Mediate:

Why does talking about race make Clinton uncomfortable? She sidestepped the initial question with the “no one will agree with the president” line, but when Amanpour tried to bring her back to race, Clinton demurred that racism was “too broad” of a label, adding that sexism and homophobia are also problems. You don’t say!

The simple explanation is that Clinton, in full-on presidential run mode (despite her insistence that she hasn’t yet decided) was cautious of turning off voters who fear the racism label, whether it is justified or not.

Even President Barack Obama, who has increasingly started talking about race in a more personal way, was quoted by the New York Times in 2009 — after a five-second hesitation — saying, “I’m not somebody who believes that constantly talking about race somehow solves racial tensions.”

Gradually Obama began talking about race more directly and more personally, finally in 2012 addressing the Trayvon Martin killing by saying: “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.”

In other words, Obama eventually became comfortable drawing on his lived experience and the lived experiences of those close to him to talk about race. That’s not surprising when you consider a Pew survey that revealed a gap in how whites view whether black Americans are “treated less fairly” in various aspects of life — at work, in stores or restaurants, in public or during voting — with how black Americans view it. Only 13 to 16 percent of whites felt black were treated unfairly in these aspects of life, while 44 to 54 percent of blacks felt that way.

Blogger’s Note:

As I wrote in this previous post earlier today, this is not the presumptive candidate America wanted in 2007, nor does it want it today.

Read the rest of this article at TPM

Curated from talkingpointsmemo.com

10 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton’s Stumble Over Race”

  1. Late response, sorry, but I just wanted to say that I disagree with you completely. I think focusing on race as being the critical aspect of opposition to Obama is entirely wrong-headed and Clinton was correct in an effort to avoid joining the band wagon. As for speaking “personally” as does the president, she isn’t black so she cannot speak from the perspective of a black person. Perhaps it would have been worthwhile to follow up on Clinton’s experience as a woman, first in the White House, and then running against Obama in the primaries and what she thinks might happen were she to become president. You’ve frequently displayed contempt for Clinton and it shows here with your attempt to make a perfectly reasonable answer into a “stumble.”

    1. I am not a fan of the Clintons and I never make any bones about it. I am not automatically in favor of the criticisms leveled against either or both of them, however. In the case of this re-blog of this piece, I do agree with the writers in their assessment. Furthermore, one need not even read the piece and only watch the interview and Mrs. Clinton’s responses. She hasn’t learned a thing since 2008.

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