Barack Obama’s Speech Fails to Unite America … Over His SpeechYesterday we compared Barack Obama’s Philadelphia address on race in America to Mitt Romney’s recent last-ditch speech on faith. But as the New York Times points out, it’s really more like JFK’s 1960 speech on religion. It came at a time when Democrats, and probably even Republicans, were bored with the current political dialogue and thirsting for some honesty and something new to talk about. Indeed, yesterday and last night, hordes of people were writing and discussing. The overarching question: Will it matter? Will it change the course of Obama’s candidacy? Will it change the course of America? A lot of that is up to the press, not the people. But even the editorial boards of The Wall Street Journal, the Times and the New York Post professed not to know what the effects would be.
early and often
The Surprising Facets of Last Night’s Unsurprising Obama Victory
As you probably already know, but perhaps haven’t been much thinking about, Barack Obama won the Mississippi primary last night. It was a big win, something like 60 percent to 37 percent. Clinton didn’t make much of an effort in the state, so she probably didn’t take the loss too hard — for a woman who claims to want to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations so that every Democratic voter can feel like he’s been listened to, she’s certainly been ignoring a large amount of them. But the exit-poll numbers indicate a few surprises. For one thing, Hillary Clinton received the lion’s share of crossover votes (Republican voters who vote in the Democratic primary), which is a first — every other time crossover voting has been included, Obama has trumped her with this group. But this time, Hillary took them 3 to 1. Obama took 90 percent of the black vote, and Hillary did better than usual with the white vote, which Politico’s Ben Smith chalks up to the attitudes of southern white voters. And finally, Obama won either five or seven delegates more than Hillary did last night, depending on who is counting. This effectively erases any ground she may have gained after her big wins last Tuesday.
We will now return to our round-the-clock Eliot Spitzer hookapalooza coverage.
Mississippi Crossovers [Talking Points Memo]
Mississippi Delegates [Politico]
The Magnolia State Stats [Stumper/Newsweek]
Obama Wins In Mississippi [NYT]
They’re Here, They’re Black, Get Used to It
We saw this billboard in the subway station at Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street yesterday, we took in its photos of shirtless, sculpted black men, and it all made sense. Then we noticed it starred Bernie Mac, and we realized that we didn’t think this movie was at all what we’d thought it was. And that whoever named it should probably be fired.
[Snap a Photo Op–worthy shot? Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Pol and Poet Wouldn’t Support N-Word Ban
Felipe Luciano ran for City Council two years ago, and he lost by only sixteen votes. Which is too bad, because if he’d won, he likely would have been the only council member to vote against the “N-word” moratorium that passed unanimously yesterday. A generation ago, Luciano wrote a poem that he has since performed widely: “Jibaro, My Pretty Nigger.” Jibaro refers to a person from Puerto Rico, and Luciano, who grew up in Harlem, calls himself a black Puerto Rican. “I used the word nigger to defuse its negativity,” he told us by phone. “When Puerto Ricans call each other the Spanish word ‘negro,’ it reflects feelings of love. I think New York blacks picked up ‘You my nigger’ from Puerto Ricans.”
the morning line
There Either Will or Will Not Be Six More Weeks of Winter
• We can all agree it’s Groundhog Day, but there’s little agreement beyond that. Contradictory early-morning behavior from local groundhogs Staten Island Chuck, Holtsville Hal, and Malverne Phil casts uncertainty on the duration of winter. [Newsday]
• Hillary Clinton has announced that her presidential fund-raisers must pony up a record-breaking $1 million apiece to make her BFF inner circle. (By comparison, Dubya’s BFF benchmark in 2000 was a trifling $100,000.) The burning question: Should the HRC BFFs be called “Pathfinders” or the naughtier “Hillraisers”? [NYT]
• Just in time for Black History Month, and egged on by rap legend Kurtis Blow, the City Council ponders a resolution to urge all New Yorkers to stop using the N-word. And even when you end it with an a, dawg. [amNY]
• In the political equivalent of wearing the same dress to the dance, ‘08 rivals Giuliani and McCain learned they’d be sharing top billing in May at a big New York State GOP fund-raiser — and some party insiders are calling it a major dis to Rudy. [NYP]
• One day after he suggested that Barack Obama was the first black presidential candidate to master both English and personal hygiene, Senator Joe Biden hit Al Sharpton’s radio show to insist he had the highest regard for the Rev’s syntax. [NYDN]
in other news
Lift Ev’ry Voice and Chicken WingWe’re loath to get between any female and her fridge, but the strong black woman in us is a little concerned by this week’s headlines. First there was restaurateur B. Smith on NPR defending her job as the new, potentially Aunt Jemima–ish, face of Betty Crocker’s corn bread. Then — more NPR! — came a piece on the mysterious disappearance of fried-chicken- loving Beyoncé’s backside in Dreamgirls. Finally, today we came across a video clip on Vanity Fair’s Website of Tyra Banks’s photo shoot for the February issue — in which the former supermodel manages to keep her appetite under control for three whole minutes before informing the camera she’s off to eat some wings, her booty be damned.
And just in time for Martin Luther King Day!
B. Smith Becomes the Face of Betty Crocker Cornbread [NPR]
What’s Missing in ‘Dreamgirls’ [NPR]
America’s Next Top Mogul [VF]
the morning line
Attacks, Affairs, and VFW Fundraisers
• A Westchester married couple who live on the Clintons’ cul-de-sac were ambushed and shot on their way to their Chappaqua home Saturday night. Both remain in the hospital. Suspects abound; the husband, Carlos Perez-Olivo, is a high-profile lawyer recently disbarred amid accusations of incompetence. [amNY]
• The Post breaks out the dollar sign for “McLaughlin’s ‘Lavi$hed’ Lady,” about a spa operator whom married assemblyman and labor leader Brian McLaughlin reportedly romanced. Add this to the already epic list of his malfeasances, which, we’ll never tire of reminding you, included stealing from the Little League. [NYP]
• In a Coen brothers movie come to life, four masked gunmen held up a poker fund-raiser at a VFW hall in Franklin Square, Long Island, and took the game’s pot. The robbers also helped themselves to the guests’ wallets and cell phones. They’d even, evidently, cased the joint before. [WNBC]
• In media-on-media news, we’ll note the Daily News’ Stanley Crouch telling young black men to grow up. Filming a “popular program for black youths,” the columnist found himself “surrounded by black men, ages 18 to 35, and I was appalled. As a father with a daughter nearly 30 years old who has never been close to marrying anyone, I was once more struck by what my offspring describes as ‘a lack of suitable men.’” [NYDN]
• And in a bit of media-on-media-on-media news, TVNewser comes in for its big New York Times close-up, executed along the usual narrative lines of “OMG kid with blog” and “Isn’t this what the Web was invented for.” To its credit, the Times also gets a great quote from the game Brian Williams, who compares the blogger to The King of Comedy’s Rupert Pupkin. [NYT]