If you think Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a lock
on “the black vote” solely because of his skin color, think again.
Bob Johnson—former owner of BET and Hillary Clinton
supporter—had some choice words for the Illinois senator over the
weekend, alluding to Obama‘s admitted drug use during his teen years.
“I am frankly, insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that
we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton who have
been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama
was doing something in the neighborhood—that I won’t say what he was
doing, but he said it in his book—when they have been involved,”
Johnson said to a South Carolina audience.
not targeting Obama‘s drug use, but his days as a community organizer
“My comments today were referring to Barack
Obama‘s time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else. Any
other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect. When Hillary
Clinton was in her twenties she worked to provide protections for
abused and battered children and helped ensure that children with
disabilities could attend public school. That results oriented
leadership — even as a young person — is the reason I am supporting
The war of words between the Clinton and
Obama camps turned towards race this weekend—which may have prompted
Johnson to say what he said—after Clinton commented on Martin Luther
King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.
“Dr. King had been
on the front lines. He had been leading a movement,” Clinton said last
Sunday on Meet the Press. “But Dr. King understood, which is why he
made it very clear, that there has to be a coming to terms of our
country politically in order to make the changes that would last for
generations beyond the iconic, extraordinary speeches that he gave.
That’s why he campaigned for Lyndon Johnson in 1964. That’s why he was
there when those great pieces of legislation were passed.”
Clinton quickly elaborated on her comment. “Does [King] deserve the
lion’s share of the credit for moving our country and moving our
political process? Yes, he does. But he also had partners who were in
the political system.“
The comment angered some in the black
community and many viewed the statement as Clinton trying to diminish
the role King played in fight for equality in the country.
“Senator Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill-advised remark,
about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn’t make the statement,” Obama said
when asked if he was personally offended by Clinton‘s comments. “I
haven’t remarked on it. And she, I think, offended some folks who felt
that somehow diminished King‘s role in bringing about the Civil Rights
Act. She is free to explain that. But the notion that somehow this is
our doing is ludicrous.“
The issue of Hip Hop music and
lyrics have also surfaced in this campaign, with Obama‘s camp coming
under fire for the use of a Jay-Z song.
During Obama‘s victory party in Iowa, Jay‘s “99 Problems” was played over the loud speaker. Some imply that the line “99 problems but a bitch ain’t one” was a thinly veiled shot at his political rival.
The Clinton camp says they “didn’t know” Obama used the song and
Obama says he is a fan of rap music, dismissing the notion that the
song selection was aimed at his political rival.
“I tell you
what, I can tell you the kinds of stuff I love dancing to . . . I’m
sort of the generation of Stevie Wonder and Earth Wind & Fire,” he
said in an interview with CNN. “But I’m sort of hip to the younger
stuff. You know, like Beyoncé‘s ‘Crazy in Love.’ That’s a good song to
dance to. Eminem . . . although he curses sometimes.“