At approximately 6 p.m. on Jan. 15, three hours before a Kumbaya interlude at the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, I saw Al Sharpton defending Senator Barack Obama from charges of youthful drug abuse.
As we all know by now, the accusation arises from Obama's own admission in his modern Horatio Alger tale, Dreams From My Father, published long before he became a presidential candidate, that he tried cocaine as a teenager.
The hoopla over this has validated the judgment of George W. Bush eight years ago to refuse to answer questions about his own alleged drug use, which many believe continued well beyond his teen years. This is why honesty isn't considered the best policy by political consultants. But I digress.
Sharpton has done things to redeem himself in recent years, but his presence is a one-way ticket back to Tawana Brawley, boycotts, shakedowns and good old-fashioned, in-your-face confrontational race-based politics. Seeing him in that box on TV, I realized that the Clintons had done what they needed to do to stop Obama's historic surge in its tracks.
From the start of his career, Obama wanted, and needed, to remove the race card from the political deck. While it isn't clear from whose sleeve the card was pulled, it is likely it wasn't from the person with the most to lose.
If Hillary Clinton's campaign had taken only one shot at Obama, it might have been blown off as a mistake. But four shots constitutes a pattern, with Clinton's former New Hampshire chairman, Bill Shaheen, Representative Charles Rangel, Clinton pollster Mark Penn and Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson all getting into the act.
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