Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod went on Good Morning America this morning to address McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’ asertion that Obama is playing the race card. Interviewer Chris Cuomo played Obama’s comments from yesterday in reaction to McCain’s brilliant “Celeb” ad in which Obama’s readiness to lead the country is brought into question. Obama said, “What they’re [Bush and McCain] going to do is try to scare you about me. He’s not patriotic enough. He’s got a funny name. You know, he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.” Cuomo asked Axelrod what Obama meant by that.
But Axelrod’s answer (1:35) contained a little more truth than he may have liked to admit. Axelrod was trying to explain that Obama was not saying McCain would use his race against him. Instead, he admitted that Obama himself has been using his race as a justification for his candidacy all along.
CUOMO: “What does that mean if it’s not a suggesiton that his race is going to be used against him?”
AXELROD: “Well…look he’s said…and by the way he’s said this repeatedly as you’ve mentioned all across the country, he’s not from central casting when it comes to candidates for President of the United States…he’s young, he’s new to Washington, yes he’s African-American, and…uh so this is nothing new.”
Those are the three justifications for Obama’s candidacy, according to its chief architect, David Axelrod. Obama should be elected president because he’s young, he’s inexperienced, and, “yes he’s African-American.” Just don’t call Obama on it. That would be using his race against him.
UPDATE: The Obama campaign now admits Obama was talking about race when he accused McCain and Republicans of trying to scare voters.
Obama’s camp initially denied the remark was a reference to Obama’s race. […]
“He was referring to the fact that he didn’t come into the race with the history of others,” Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday. “It is not about race.”
But Obama’s chief strategist, David Axelrod, acknowledged on “Good Morning America” Friday that the candidate was referring, at least in part, to his ethnic background.
When pressed to explain the comment, Axelrod told “GMA” it meant, “He’s not from central casting when it comes to candidates for president of the United States. He’s new to Washington. Yes, he’s African-American.”
That seemingly obvious reference sparked the first real fireworks between the two camps as backers of both candidates accused the other of trying to subtly inject race into the presidential contest.
Cross posted at Mark on the Right.