Full Text: Obama “typical white person” interview

Obama: “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person.”

The following is a transcript of the full text of the telephone interview 3/20/2008 with Senator Barack Obama and radio host Angelo Cataldi (6:11 minutes). The video of this interview is |here|. An interview with Larry King 3/20/08, in which Obama makes further explanation of these remarks video clip |here|.

Cataldi: Now, ladies and gentlemen, Senator Barack Obama. Hello senator.

Obama: How are you, sir.

Cataldi: Senator, it is a great honor and a privilege to have you on our show.

Obama: Thank you so much for takin the time

Cataldi: Oh, believe me senator. The first question I wanna ask you is a very basic one. Why should we elect you president?

Obama: Well, because I think that we’re at a moment in our history where we need tah –break from the past in a fundamental way. We need to bring the country together. We’ve gotta push off uh, special interests and lobbyists that have dominated Washington, and start getting a government that is tackling in a pragmatic practical way, some real problems that ordinary folks are going through every day, whether it’s losin’ their home to foreclosure or not having health care or seeing their wages and, and incomes flatline, uh, or seeing their loved ones deployed in Iraq. We’ve got some big issues and we can’t just have uh, the same old stuff, and I’ve got twenty years of experience in bringing about real change.

Cataldi: Yah, you mentioned experience and your opponent Hillary Clinton keeps talking about hers, Senator, and I’m always amazed by this, because most of her experience came not as the actual person, like Bill Clinton, but as the wife. How does she get away with using thirty five years of experience when she’s really only had eight in the senate?

Obama: Well, uh you know, it is a fact that she’s been in the public eye for a long time.

Cataldi: Right.

Obama: …so I think that people just feel like they know her, uh, she’s been around. She’s a, a ,a very smart lady and I think people respect her intelligence, uh, but you’re absolutely right, if you compare legislative experience, uh, I’ve, I was in the state legislature for eight years before I went to the United States senate. I’ve been in elected office longer than she has, uh, and ultimately the issue is not how long you’ve been in Washington. The question is what kind of judgment you bring to bear on the problems that we face.

Cataldi: Without a doubt. Senator, you gave an amazing speech on Tuesday, we were actually at the constitution center but not giving as eloquent a speech as you were, believe me, and you talked about your white grandmother and how there was a time when even she feared black men and that she even occasionally would use a racial or ethnic stereotype. (crosstalk) What does she say now about you being so close to the presidency?

Obama: Well, you know she’s extremely proud, and the uh, the point I was making was not that my grandmother, uh harbors, uh any racial animosity, she doesn’t. But she is a uh, typical white person who, uh, you know uh if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, you know, there’s a reaction that’s been bred inta, uh, our experiences that, that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in, in the wrong way and, and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it, and what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little bit less like that, uh and that’s pretty powerful stuff.

Cataldi: Senator, but you will bear an extra responsibility as president in that you will be the first African American president, um, uh how will you approach that, will you, will you see that as another thing that you have to, you know, take care of every day, people are going to be watching that.

Obama: Well look, I think that uh if I’m uh, in the oval office I’ve got all kinds of things to worry about

Cataldi: That’s true ha ha…

Obama: …you know that, that comes with the job, but I wouldn’t be running if I wasn’t confident that I could help the country work through some of these issues. At the same time as we’re taking care of the business at hand, which is making sure that the economy’s working for ordinary people that they’ve got health care, that they can afford to send their kids to college, that we can end this war in Iraq that has cost us so dearly in blood and treasure

Cataldi: Senator the, the, your position about ending the war in Iraq has fascinated me because your opponents are saying if we do it the way senator Obama wants to do it we will be empowering our enemies, how do you respond to that.

Obama: You know, we’ve empowered our enemies by going into Iraq in the first place, I mean, think about it, we diverted resources from Afghanistan where bin Laden was and al Qaeda was, Afghanistan is now more violent ttah at any time since the Afghan war started. Bin Ladin is still at large. He sent out a tape yesterday, uh… we spent more money on this war than any war in our history and the, and there’s no end in sight, uh, it, it it has strained our alliances, fanned anti-American sentiment, it has been a strategic disaster uh and, you know, what I’ve called for is a responsible withdrawal that would get our strategy back on the right track.

Cataldi: Thank you, senator. Senator, you know what your schedule is… the one other thing I really wanted to know is, watching you on the campaign trail on Tuesday, it’s such an immense thing that we ask you to do before we elect a person president. How has it changed you?

Obama: You know uh, uh, one of the good things is , I think it ah, ah, it makes me realize that actually I can handle stress fairly well.

Cataldi: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, haaa, ha, ha

Obama: So you know I tend to be a pretty calm guy, uh, uh and I think that its made me appreciate my family that much more because I sure miss them.

Cataldi: Well that’s great. Senator we we can’t thank you enough for the time you’ve given us, and if there’s any thing we can do to help you carry Pennsylvania, we would do it, you’ve got a lot of fans here at WIP.

Obama: I look forward tah seeing you guys…maybe I can drop by the studio sometime.

Cataldi: Ah! Please! That would be awsome. Maybe after you’re president. Thank you, senator.

Obama: Talk to you soon.

Cataldi: Senator Barack Obama. Oh, that was…he’s very eloquent isn’t he?

Female voice: Very good.

Cataldi: He just automatically exudes that charisma. Did you feel that, Al, did you feel the charisma?

Male voice: So is he coming in?

Cataldi: Well, it sounds like he’s on his way in right now.

Male voice: (inaudible)…pitch before the primary….

Female voice: We’re definitely gonna promo that if he comes in.


Cataldi: That was exciting.

Posted in Election 2008, Obama. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Full Text: Obama “typical white person” interview

Mike Gravel goes Libertarian-bye, bye, bumper stickers

Mike Gravel announced today he has left the Democratic Party and will run for president on the Libertarian Party.

The government may not be perfect but it does accomplish a few things. Safe drinking water. Highways. The National Park system.  Sorry, but I just can’t take the Libertarians seriously.

The Mike Gravel for President buttons, magnets and bumper sticker link in the sidebar has been deleted.

Political videos THEY don’t want you to see

For anyone who is a political junkie and doesn’t have time to look at all the candidates’ websites to see what is hot this week, techpresident.com reviews all the latest political web moves, including videos.

Worth seeing in this group are Andy Cobb’s robotic message to Ralph Nader and Aimee Allen’s goth Ron Paul video. They also have links to the recent viral Obama videos.

At least one of the writers, Michael Turk, is a well-known former GOP employee. Maybe that’s why the website doesn’t mention two other fun political videos.

The sequel to the Obama “Yes You Can” video from billionairesforbush.com is titled, “No You Can’t- No Se Puede.” An equally fun and over the top video from the Onion is “Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results of 2008 Presidential Election Early”. Oh, uh, yes, election results spoiler warning.

hat-tin-foil-smiley.gif     hat-tin-foil-smiley.gif     hat-tin-foil-smiley.gif

Camel accuses Obama campaign of Fearmongering and Shameful, Offensive Drudgery

drudge2.jpgWhile the rest of the blogosphere was busy bickering about the picture of Barack Obama in Kenyan attire that went viral after appearing on the Drudge Report this week, and their claim that it came from someone in the Clinton campaign, and the Obama campaign’s response that it was “shameful offensive fear-mongering”, the Camel’s Nose has obtained an exclusive email from a camel that claims it was subjected to “shameful offensive Drudgery” by none other than Senator Obama himself.

While the other blogs frequently don’t do their homework and print things without knowing whether or not they are true, that will never happen here at the Camel’s Nose. Everything here is double-checked five ways from Sunday.

At first I was skeptical about this camel thing. After all, the email from the camel in question was received by a little-known Republican blog, whose name escapes me at the moment. And the Senator is a Democrat. If someone wanted to discredit him, isn’t that just what they would do? Give a fake email to some Republicans and say it came from who-knows-where. By the time it all got sorted out, the damage would have been done. Well, I’m not going to fall for that crap. I sort things out first. And besides, I’ve never heard of a camel that was able to send emails.

barack-camel-wajid-kenya-8-27-06.jpgBut then, a few things started to fall into place. First, miraculously, an exhaustive examination of the Obama campaign’s cache memory turned up the information that the senator had actually been in the camel’s hometown of Wajid, Kenya on 8/27/06, the exact day when the official campaign photographers were so very attentive and the rest of the press said the senator was busy getting his African sartorial lesson.

Now, surprise, surprise, surprise, a photo of the incident with the actual camel has come to light. No doubt about it. The camel is NOT happy.

But why? Inquiring minds want to know, so we checked further.

Here’s the information we uncovered, from another stop the senator made in Nairobi, Kenya.

barack-nairobi-kenya-kibera-slum-8-27-06.jpgWhat is he saying to the crowd? According to the purloined email, Obama is shouting, “Can you eat camels?” And the crowd is shouting back, “Yes we can.”

Talk about divisive fear-mongering…

Extra credit if you can spot the photographer from the Clinton campaign who took that Drudge Report photo in this 2006 Nairobi crowd scene.

Update: Finally someone who says something about this whole thing that makes sense–the local BBC guy, Yusuf Garaad Omar, head of the BBC’s Somali Service explains the meaning of the costume. “They have a council for Peace and Development, and when they get delegates they dress them as a nomadic person.” Cool.  The American senator shows up and gets the standard Council Delegate Treatment.   I should hope so.

Posted in Camels, Election 2008, Humor, Obama. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Camel accuses Obama campaign of Fearmongering and Shameful, Offensive Drudgery

Some Campaign Gear for Election 2008

Finally I’ve added some links for t-shirts, bumper stickers, magnets and campaign buttons for candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to the sidebar.

Can you get thong underwear?  Yes, you can.

Barack Obama:

Buttons, Magnets, and Bumper Stickers


Hillary Clinton:

Buttons, Magnets, and Bumper Stickers



Posted in Election 2008, Hillary, Obama. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Comments Off on Some Campaign Gear for Election 2008

Jesus Lite and Victimology at Obama’s Still-Racist Trinity Church

“Black people! Grow up! Stop helping white people!”

So thundered the preacher from the pulpit of Obama’s Trinity Church.

After the first time I wrote about Obama’s home church, one of the members of that church posted a comment here defending Trinity and inviting me to visit. I decided I wouldn’t write anything more until I had seen it for myself.

A few weeks ago I made the pilgrimage to Trinity. Clicking on a map ad for directions to the church, I ended up at the wrong address–their old building few blocks west. Walking around the building I saw a parking lot with a sign declaring “members only”. Would that be the topic sentence for my visit?

Just as I was deciding that this wasn’t the same building as in the website, a guy in a van–a shuttle from the remote parking lot–offered me a ride to the church. As the driver picked up more people from the street, I inquired about Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Would he be speaking today? Rev. Wright was retiring, I was told. Rev. Moss was in the process of taking his place.

We were dropped off and entered the building, sunlight filtering through two stories of stained glass inside, and were immediately stopped by a gesture from a pair of white gloves. A between-services prayer had just begun in the sanctuary, and the ushers, women in white gloves, were stopping everybody in their tracks. It reminded me of a movie set I saw once at Daley Plaza with all the extras playing pedestrians frozen in place prior to rolling the cameras.

The prayer over, I walked around the narthex a bit to see if I could glean their story. Walking upstairs to the balcony entrance, I looked at the stained glass window a little more closely. Black faces and a tribute to the NAACP, the first time I’ve ever seen that as a stained glass theme in a church. Then I saw white faces immortalized in the stained glass. Who were they? A male judge and man in a police uniform. Between them stood a man with a black face and a dejected posture. The story was obvious. The only white people pictured here were Oppressors.

Enough time for a pit stop before the service started. On my way to the rest room I noticed how many people were wearing African costume. In the ladies room the mirror area was crowded. More women in African gear were making last minute makeup repairs before the service. I was definitely underdressed. Hopefully I would be undernoticed as well.

It was time to find a seat for the service, so I decided on the main floor, but far enough back to be unobtrusive. I like to listen for God in the silences as well as the words and music, but Trinity isn’t that kind of church. Audience participation is the order of the day. Trinity parishioners are in the habit of calling out “amen” or variations thereof whenever they like something.

For those who find music indispensable to religious practice, Trinity certainly has a world-class choir. Their rendition of the Lord’s Prayer gave me goose bumps. At least I think I had goose bumps. Everyone holds the hand of the person next to them during prayer, so I couldn’t really see my arms, but I know I had goose bumps. I kept waiting for the hush after each musical phrase where the spirituality of the moment comes through, and you can feel the building itself inhale, but everyone seemed compelled to fill up the silences with amens.

Some of the women were even more vocal. While only male voices were heard from the authority of the pulpit, at various times throughout the service women called out from the congregation. One young woman in the front shrieked repeatedly. She looked like she might have Tourette’s Syndrome, but no one paid any attention to her. Later in the back a well-dressed woman stood up and shouted, “Something! Something!” Again, everyone acted as if that were par for the course.

No hymnals in this church, there isn’t even a place for a hymnal in the pews. The words to the one hymn were printed in the bulletin, but no one was reading it–or singing it.

The gospel reading, I Corinthians 13, was also printed in the bulletin, done as a unison reading:

…When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face…

Then the sermon. The lesson to be taken from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was about slavery.

  • The mirrors of Paul’s time were not of a good enough quality to see a clear reflection because they were made by slaves.
  • Walmart practices a form of slavery. (I gave the speaker a silent “amen” for speaking out about Walmart’s labor practices.) Then …
  • “Black people! Grow up! Stop helping white people!”

Oopsie! Is this really the Christian message? Help people in your neighborhood, of course. Patronize local businesses instead of overseas sweatshops, yes. But “stop helping white people”?

I once heard a speech by Louis Farrakhan, and this is how he spoke. First he started out with things everyone could agree with. Helping your neighbors. Economic development. After about twenty minutes, when everyone was nodding in agreement, Farrakhan would start in with the hate speech.

Even though slavery ended 140 years ago and no member of Trinity has ever been a slave, the Trinity Church narrative is about slavery. Our story is about being persecuted, it says, our story is about being victimized. And where other churches might talk about the devil or about evil, Trinity demonizes white people. Never mind that there were whites who marched for civil rights. Never mind that there were whites who lost their lives trying to register blacks to vote in the South. Never mind that every day there are whites–clergy and ordinary people too–who quietly defend justice and insist that the value of a person is more than skin deep. That doesn’t fit the Trinity Gospel of Victimology.

As I left Trinity I looked for some symbol that anyone there had recognized value in any white person. There it was, at the bottom of the stained glass window. A figure on a horse, bent over with fatigue. This could only be one of the circuit riders, the early preachers who traveled on horseback, and rarely lived past the age of thirty. As far I know, circuit riders were all white, but unlike the full-color treatment of the rest of the stained glass, this figure was done in sepia tones and you couldn’t tell its skin tone. No, a white person with a calling from God wouldn’t fit their narrative.

Today I was back at my home church. The faces in the pulpit were black, white, Asian, male and female. As we greeted each other during the passing of the peace, the faces in the pews were just as diverse. As the communion was shared we sang:

One bread, one body, one Lord of all,
One cup of blessings which we bless.
And we, though many throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

Gentile or Jew, servant or free, woman or man, no more…

One bread , one body, one Lord of all, ….

And at the end of the communion where the printed ritual in the hymnal says

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord…

the entire congregation spoke in one voice without hesitation

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord…

unwilling to participate in perceived gender discrimination, no matter what the authority behind the printing of those words.

How did I feel as a result of my visit to Trinity? Closer to God? Yes. For sure. But I was also reminded of the gentile woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus refused, based on the woman’s cultural identity. So did she just leave? No. The woman rebuked Jesus. Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table she told Jesus. A bitter snark, that, considering the Middle Eastern attitude towards dogs. In the Biblical story, Jesus accepted the gentile woman’s rebuke and healed the child.

No one will be rude to the white person who visits Trinity, but they don’t exactly consider white people to be members of the same family of God either. If you are white, you will have to be content with the scraps that fall from the table.

Trinity needs to heed the criticism of the negative publicity it has been receiving. There is some healing to be done.


Related posts:

Is Barack Obama’s Trinity Church Racist?


Barack Obama for President in 2008 buttons, magnets and bumper stickers

Barack Obama Campaign Buttons and Magnets: (click picture)

Note: So sorry, but I am unable to edit the image links properly in Windows Vista since the last WordPress image program upgrade. Here are the links to the shops for the images pictured below:

Shop for Obama blue stars with red letters: http://www.cafepress.com/ObamaInTent (buttons and magnets)

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Shop for Obama blue whoosh: http://www.cafepress.com/ObamaWarpNine (buttons, magnets, bumper stickers, oval car stickers)

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Shop for Obama blue ’08 on white background: http://www.cafepress.com/Obama0hEight

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Barack Obama Bumper Stickers:

Oval bumper sticker with red lettering: http://www.cafepress.com/ObamaInTent


Red and blue bumper sticker with white stars and letters: http://www.cafepress.com/ObamaInTent