David Gregory was just on Hardball and played a clip from his interview with President Obama that will air Sunday on “Meet the Press.” In the question, Gregory, as have many others, misrepresented what Carter said. I don’t have the transcript of Gregory’s interview yet, but what he said, to paraphrase, was “Carter attributes most of the opposition to you to racism,” and then asks Obama whether he agrees with that.
As we follow this story, I think we’re going to see that translation of Carter’s remarks take hold—that he blames most of the opposition to Obama on race. It will become fact the way the meme about Gore inventing the internet became.
Here’s what Carter said:
An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American.
I live in the South, and I have seen the South come a long way. And I have seen the rest of the country that shared the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African- Americans. That racism in connection still exists.
And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South, but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.
What he’s saying is that a large majority of the people who are carrying the most offensive signs – showing Obama as a witch doctor (clearly racist) or calling him a traitor, a Communist, or wishing his death – are racists. If you look at the protests in Washington last weekend, the truly offensive signs were not among the majority, though there were quite a few of the distasteful “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy.” If you look listen to the raucous town hall meetings (which were the minority of town hall meetings, by the way) or viewed the signs outside those contentious arenas, most of them are not personally attacking Obama or are offensive. Hyperbolic, sure, but not offensive.
What Carter is saying is that only an “overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Obama is” racist, not most of the opposition. He’s saying that a large portion of the small portion of protestors are racists.