The presidential race exploded last night on Sean Hannity's television show.
The explosion came with the revelation by Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller of a stunning 2007, exclusively obtained unedited video tape of then-Senator Barack Obama making blatantly racial appeals to an audience of black ministers. And doing it in a southern accent that by now all of America knows the man who was famously raised in Hawaii and Indonesia and migrated to California, Massachusetts, and Chicago -- simply doesn't have.
The audience at Virginia's historically black Hampton University included Obama's own pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Whom Obama glowingly praised during the talk -- and later famously disowned. In the recent bestseller The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House by former New York Times journalist Edward Klein, the Reverend Wright, in a lengthy taped interview, said Obama considered Wright's "problem" to be one of having "to tell the truth." Essentially accusing his famous ex-parishioner of being a habitual liar.
The difference between the Obama delivering this speech and the Obama of presidential teleprompter fame will do nothing to change that impression.
The speech was filled with racially incendiary language reminiscent of rapper Kanye West's infamous televised charge that when it came to helping the stricken New Orleans, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
In the speech, Obama unfavorably compared the reactions of the U.S. government during the 1992 Hurricane Andrew and the 2001 attacks on 9/11 to that of Katrina. Comparing the victims of each incident, implying that both Andrew's victims (mostly in heavily Hispanic Miami-Dade County) and those on 9/11 were treated differently than those in the heavily black New Orleans, Obama twanged in a shout that "The people down in New Orleans they [the Bush administration and U.S. government] don't care about as much." The divisive comparison obviously meant to divide the government's treatment of blacks in the black majority New Orleans from both Florida Latinos and 9/11 whites.
A comparison that will doubtless be noted in the wake of fresh revelations and accusations of cover-up about the Obama Administration's policies in the Fast and Furious scandal, in which most of the victims were Hispanics.
Particularly interesting, as Carlson pointed out last night, was that the speech was mostly ignored by reporters present for the then-candidate's speech. While a transcript was in fact provided, what was not noted were Obama's off-script riffs. No complete video of the speech was widely released until the Daily Caller obtained this one -- with Hannity airing the controversial remarks last night.
The DC quoted the Wright reference by Obama as follows:
Obama begins his address with "a special shout out" to Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago pastor who nearly derailed Obama's campaign months later when his sermons attacking Israel and America and accusing the U.S. government of "inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color" became public. To the audience at Hampton, Obama describes Wright as, "my pastor, the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He's a friend and a great leader. Not just in Chicago, but all across the country."
Particularly striking is Obama's use of the 1992 Los Angeles riots as a central point in his speech. He discusses the plight of a pregnant woman who was shot in the stomach during the riots, although he does not say whether by police or rioters. The baby -- a girl -- was subsequently born with a bullet in her arm. The Daily Caller says that
at a similar speech he gave in April of 2007 at the First AME Church in Los Angeles to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the riots, according to a church member who was there, Obama described the slug as "the bullet of slavery and Jim Crow."
Whether Obama mentioned that both slavery and Jim Crow were legacies of his own political party is not known. But clearly the speech reveals a man as intent on using race to get elected as was any old time segregationist.
The point the then-Senator Obama is making in the video is that the 1992 riots and the government's reaction to Katrina were one and the same. Says the future president:
"People in Washington, they wake up, they're surprised: 'There's poverty in our midst! Folks are frustrated! Black people angry!' Then there's gonna be some panels, and hearings, and there are commissions and there are reports, and then there's some aid money, although we don't always know where it's going -- it can't seem to get to the people who need it -- and nothin' really changes, except the news coverage quiets down and Anderson Cooper is on to something else."
The irony here is stunning.
First, as the Daily Caller notes, a full six months before Obama's speech, "the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after 9/11." While Obama accuses the government of not waiving the "Stafford Act" (which provides for a matching fund ratio in reconstruction efforts) during Katrina, unlike, he says, during the Andrew and 9/11 disasters, this is simply untrue. As the DC points out, the Stafford Act was waived at various points during the Katrina clean-up -- and mere weeks before Obama's speech an additional $6.9 billion went to the hard-hit arena with "no strings attached." The notion that as a sitting senator and by 2007 an active presidential candidate Obama had no knowledge of this is preposterous.
Second, now that he himself has been president for four years what happened to all that "poverty in our midst" Obama was shouting about back there in 2007? That's right -- as noted here, the poverty rate is expected to rise shortly to 15.7% -- the highest rate since the LBJ 1960's. And the number of Americans on food stamps has shot up by some 800,000 in 2011 to a record 46.7 million Americans.
What the Daily Caller has unearthed here, what exploded into the political atmosphere on Hannity's show last night, is the portrait of a man with two faces.
When he isn't quite so famous, when the press was snoozing on the job, he can miraculously deliver a 40-minute minute speech in a Southern-accented twang in spite of the fact that his southern heritage reaches only as far as the South Side of Chicago.
He can -- and did -- play the race card, ironically playing blacks off not just against whites but Hispanics as well. No wonder the Univision folks are so suspicious of him on Fast and Furious.
What's significant here?
This speech, pricelessly captured on video, shows a man who has no intention whatsoever in leading a "post-racial" America. This is a man who has every intention of dividing by race, and twisting the facts or eliminating them altogether as he goes along.
The really shocking thing here is that only now, confronted with video tape, will some people begin to understand the actual presidential performance of the man they elected four years ago.
This is a President with two faces. The one on display when, figuratively speaking, he thinks no one is looking. The other the man who sits today in the White House -- trying to convince his fellow citizens he really isn't the man his critics accuse him of being.
That would be the first man.
The man on the tape who sees America , as the Daily Caller points out, as a "racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America."
On the very eve of the first presidential debate, the Obama campaign now has a serious new problem.
And there's plenty of time for millions to get acquainted with the man on that tape.