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Why Did Russert Ask Obama About Harry Belafonte?

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In light of the still-burning Chris Matthews scandal, I watched Sunday's political shows with keener interest than usual.

And something very strange happened on Meet The Press. I'm wondering what Huffington Post readers make of it: Tim Russert asked Senator Barack Obama to respond to Harry Belafonte's remarks about George W. Bush being a "terrorist."

My question is, why? Why did Russert ask Obama in particular about the statements of someone who isn't an elected official, who doesn't speak for Democrats, who doesn't represent Obama, who doesn't represent the Democratic Party, who is entitled to his own opinion.

Why? Imagine how the Sunday shows would go if Republicans were asked to explain the vicious rantings of random rightwing figures.

Bloggers like to come to conclusions, but I'm leaving the conclusion to you. Go for it...

More here.

UPDATE:
An astute blogger tells us about the only other time (based on a preliminary search) that Russert asked a guest about Belafonte. And who was that guest? Why, Colin Powell.... Do the math.

UPDATE 2: Open Letter to Tim Russert