The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008

Archives

New Media

Black Commenter, Criticizing Obama, Causes Firestorm


Tavis Smiley leading a town hall at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., April 6, 2006. (Michael Temchine/The Washington Post).

By Darryl Fears
Tavis Smiley, the bestselling author of the "Covenant With Black America," is in a world turned upside down. He said he's being "hammered," "barbecued," and is "catching hell" from black Americans for suggesting that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) made a major mistake by declining to speak at the State of the Black Union event that Smiley plans to host next week in New Orleans.

"There's all this talk of hater, sellout and traitor," Smiley said to me in a telephone interview. Smiley even mentioned getting death threats, but wouldn't elaborate. He said his office has been flooded with angry e-mails. "I have family in Indianapolis. They are harassing my momma, harassing my brother. It's getting to be crazy," Smiley said.

Smiley's problems started early this month after he invited Obama to speak at the State of the Black Union, an event Smiley founded nine years ago. Held annually during Black History Month and broadcast by C-Span, the event gathers a Who's Who of black intellectuals, pundits, activists, entertainers and politicians to discuss and brainstorm about where black America is and where it is headed. This year's topic is "Reclaiming Our Democracy, Deciding Our Future."

The State of the Black Union has grown into a key event for black people since its start, but as Smiley has discovered, Obama's presidential run is far more highly regarded.

As the first black person to have a legitimate shot at a presidential nomination, defeating Sen. Hillary Clinton's rich campaign juggernaut, Obama is virtually a third civil rights movement, the manifestation of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. His candidacy has produced a fervor in black America born of centuries of wanting. Nearly every black vote that Clinton thought was hers at the beginning of the race has been siphoned by Obama.

Each of the presidential candidates were invited to speak, but only Sen. Hillary Clinton accepted. Clinton is desperate to bolster her flagging campaign with a larger share of the black vote after losing all but a small percent to Obama. Smiley said he wants the candidates to focus on the issues that black Americans care about.

If the blogosphere is any reflection, however, black America believes Smiley should check his ego. Commenters would much rather see Obama campaigning against Clinton in Texas and Ohio than at Smiley's confab in Louisiana, a state he's already won. Critics burned up Internet chat rooms, taking turns at denouncing Smiley. Pundit Melissa Harris-Lacewell, an Obama supporter, authored a biting anti-Smiley opinion on TheRoot.com (which is owned by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive), entitled, "Who Died and Made Him King?"

A fan of Smiley commented on one blog, saying, "Tavis, Ya Killin' Me, Man." An angrier writer headlined his comment, "This is just dumb." "This man is involved in the fight of his life for the presidency of the UNITED STATES, not black states," he wrote of Obama. "I don't know if Tavis got the memo, but Hillary is leading in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where the governor said that his white folks won't vote for a black." Other comments would likely be blocked by Net Nanny and can't be printed on the Web pages of a family newspaper.

For Smiley, the tumult is a major turnabout. Until now he was a darling commentator in black America. His passion for the people endeared him to many. People listened to his commentaries on the popular Tom Joyner Morning Show, and snapped up so many copies of the "Covenant" that it made the top ten lists of the both the New York Times and the Washington Post. When Smiley talked, black people listened.

"One of my friends said, 'you are being barbecued in the blogosphere,'" Smiley said. He told Black America Web writer Michael Cottman's that "I'm catching hell." In our interview, Smiley said: "This is the first time in my entire career that I have found myself in this kind of relationship with some folk in black America. I now know what it feels like to have the weight of the Internet world bearing down on you. Man, it's an eye opener when you get caught in the middle of it."

Obama's campaign said he called Smiley twice on his cell and office phones. Smiley said he returned the calls but got no response.

On the Tom Joyner Morning Show recently, Joyner brought up the controversy during an interview with Obama, relating how Smiley was taking heat for saying he thinks Obama doesn't want to talk about issues black people care about.

Obama chastised Smiley, but spoke as if the two were friends. "I'm going to have to call Tavis up and straighten him out on this," Obama said. He said he's addressed issues that Smiley cares about, such as health care and eliminating the legal sentencing disparity that allows judges to send mostly black crack cocaine offenders to prison with sentences that are five times longer than powder cocaine offenders who are mostly white and Latino.

Obama followed up with a letter to Smiley, dated Feb. 13. In it, Obama explained why he declined the invitation, saying that he needed to campaign in states that Clinton must win to in order to topple her candidacy.

"I will be on the campaign trail every day in states like Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin talking directly to voters about the causes that are at the heart of my campaign and the State of the Black Union forum such as affordable housing, economic opportunity, civil rights and foreign policy," Obama said in his letter. He had offered to have his wife, Michelle, speak in his stead at the State of the Black Union, but Smiley had declined. "I ask that you reconsider," Obama wrote. "Michelle is a powerful voice for the type of reach change America is hungry for."

Smiley responded in a commentary on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, condemning Obama's decision with his usual strong, passionate, rapid-fire delivery. He recounted the gist of his statement in the interview. "I think it is a miscalculation on his part not to appear and a missed opportunity."

"I love Barack Obama and I love black people," Smiley said. "I celebrate his past accomplishments and I celebrate his future aspirations. I never wanted to stand in the path of his growth."

However, he said, "My job is to ask the critical question, to raise these issues and keep these guys focused. There are some people who are disappointed that I'm not jumping up and down saying, 'Vote for Barack Obama.' That's not my role as a journalist. That's not what I do."

Posted at 11:15 AM ET on Feb 16, 2008  | Category:  New Media
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in Del.icio.us | Digg This
Previous: Flexing Her Rhetorical "Will" | Next: The Clinton Team's Long View


Add 44 to Your Site
Be the first to know when there's a new installment of The Trail. This widget is easy to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry on The Trail.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Posted by: scuko | April 12, 2008 2:32 PM

God Bless Smiley,

Finally someone sees through Obama, he sure talks alot but no substance to back himself up. And finally a jounalist (of all people) speaking out againt Obama. Someone who speaks the news and doesn't try "to make the news" like "all" the networks.

1) Didn't show up at MLK Observance, Hillary did.
2) Didn't show up at the last invite to a Black Convension, Hillary did.
3) And now declined an invite to talk at the State of the Black Union, Hillary will be there.

Doesn't there seem to be a pattern developing here???

He acts like he has the black vote all wrapped up or he thinks he don't need their votes at all.

Imagine the negative publicity Hillary would get if she turned down similar events.

Come on people, voting should be taken seriously, it appears Obama doesn't see it that way.

Obama would rather go bowling than go to the State of the Black Union, and in closing--how many candidates (over the years) took a weeks vacation right in the middle of a tight campaign race??? Think you already know the answer.

Look at the issues on the web and where
they each stand on them, then vote with your head not your heart.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!

Posted by: Sandy,PA | April 11, 2008 2:35 PM

Obama's efforts to connect to the Republican Party, specifically Bush, and Dick Chaney, of the Halliburton Company, dates back to the Presidents Grandfather, Prescott Bush, and indeed Chaney was once an executive officer of Halliburton.

The American military pounds Iraq with Artillary, bombs, and the like, destroying large sections of cities, and infra-structures, then Halliburton comes in to rebuild. Halliburton and Halliburton associated companies have raked in ten's of billions.

Obama is just like the BIG HALIBURTAN. Haliburton has contracted to build detention centers in the U.S. similiar to the one in Quantanammo Bay, Cuba. Halliburton does nothing to earn the Two Dollars for each meal an American Serviceman in Iraq eats.

http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

Halliburton was scheduled to take control of the Dubai Ports in The United Arab Emiirate. The deal was canceled when Bush was unable to affect the transfer of the American Ports.

Now we see what some might suspect as similiar financial escapading from the Democrats.

Two years ago, Iraq's Ministry of Electricity gave a $50 million contract to a start-up security company - Companion- owned by now-indicted businessman (TONY REZKO) Tony Rezko and a onetime Chicago cop, Daniel T. Frawley, to train Iraqi power-plant guards in the United States. An Iraqi leadership change left the deal in limbo. Now the company, Companion Security, is working to revive its contract.
Involved along with Antoin "Tony" Rezco, long time friend and neighbor of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and former cop Daniel T. Frawley, is Aiham Alsammarae. Alsammarae was accused of financial corruption by Iraqi authorities and jailed in Iraq last year before escaping and returning here.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON --
Recently, Obama's campaign staff have been vetted by the IRS to disclose his connection to the criminal money generating underworld. Besides, his connections to the REZCO MAFIA types, his up-coming tax fraud charges -- Obama needs to disclose why he is a MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" and disclose Obama's MUSLIM Farrakhan mob connection to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan. Farrakhan and Chicago's Trinity United Church are trumpeting Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama as the second coming of the messiah. Obama should stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It's time to introduce this false, fake Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke "GLORK" Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek. He is MAD!!! --

OBAM YOU'RE NO JFK --

"GLORK" Obama looks like Alfred E. Newman: "Tales Calculated To Drive You." He is a MUSLIM "Glork" He's MAD!!! Alfred E. Neuman is the fictional mascot of Mad. The face had drifted through American pictography for decades before being claimed by Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman after he spotted it on the bulletin board in the office of Ballantine Books editor Bernard Shir-Cliff, later a contributor to various magazines created by Kurtzman.
Obama needs to disclose why he is a MUSLIM "PATWANG-FWEEE" and stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It's time to introduce this false, fake "GLORK" Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek.

Michelle Obama should be ashamed.

"GLORK" Michelle Obama should be ashamed of her separatist-racist connection to Farrakhan and Chicago's Trinity United Church trumpeting Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama as the second coming of the messiah. If Michelle Obama new what her husband -- the Hope-A-Dope, Fonster Monster -- Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama did in Harlem, she would wash her wide-open, Hus-suey loving MUSILM mouth out, with twenty-four (24) mule-team double-cross X-boX-BorraX. He is a MUSLIM "Glork" It's time to introduce this false, fake "GLORK" Xerox - X box Obama and invite the self-indicting thief plagiarizing pipsqueke Xerox - X box to meet the Buffalo "GAZOWNT-GAZIKKA" Police Department Buffalo Creek. He's MAD!!!

http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

THE SPEECH --

The Apologia has arrived and once again the self-indicting, separatist-racist Barack Obama AKA Barack Hussein Obama, promises to heal the wounds of the world. The speech is the rude awakening of mass messianism of his campaign. Apologetically, Obama the MUSLIM double-cross X-boX-BorraX has an astonishingly empty two-prawn echelon explanation of his misjudgment.
In the first prawn: with regard to his connection to separatist-racist Rev. Wright; Obama summons voodoo and juju to express slavery as beginning and ending with the Rev. Wright.
In the second prawn: Obama's speech takes credit for Ashley's dream. A dream of unity Martin Luther King, Jr. borrowed from Ashley for his historic "I Have A Dream" speech. In Obama's speech, the connective bond Ashley, the elderly black man and Obama's grandmother share; represents Obama's self-indicting rise to the Harvard Yard. For Obama, the grand flag of language is the semi-fore of words, bestowed upon our nation by the messiah-alumni from Harvard. Obama's Swoon-Song Apologia to the nation represents a failed hymn -- a hymn that fails to heal the nation, repair the world, or make this time different than all the rest. Obama's speech is a brilliant failure.

http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/

Posted by: jreno18 | March 23, 2008 4:49 PM

As an African American I've immensely enjoyed watching this forum and supported Tavis over the years, but was very much disenchanted with Tavis' whiney attitude on this matter. He was obviously upset because Senator Obama didn't attend "my" black party. His ego obviously surfaced because everyone invited to "his" party didn't attend, particularly Obama. So what? Grow up! That wasn't the only thing on the Presidential nominee's agenda. I'm sure he gets many invitations that his campaign has to be selective in attending for the right reasons. Obama has lived the "black experience" what more could he add that some of the other prolific panelists didn't add? His campaign was politically astute to decline. He had business to attend to on the campaign trail by those who still have challenges accepting an African American for the highest office in our country, don't know him like they know the Clinton household name or who needed to learn more about his stance on the issues facing Americans, not just Black America. He was out breaking barriers, expanding his horizons, while Tavis was sitting in the same annual setting talking among alike people about the same old issues that will not be overcome until we come together as one America. This is not to minimize this excellent symposium, however in the eyes of much of the mainstream media and many White Americans, this annual event is a mega black block party that perpetuates division among the races when we distinguish Black America from America in general. By the way, who put the label out on "Black America?" Is there a "White America"? We know there are issues uniquely facing the various races/ethnic groups in America that must be dealt with, but at some point if we want to deal with these issues from a unification stance, we need to bring leaders of the various races together and talk it out. How long do we keep talking to each other about issues in America where overwhelmingly Black America is present? Comedian and Activist, Dick Gregory at times was just as offensive and shameful as Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sound bites. This forum should incorporate dialogue among a more expansive and reflective representation of Americans (not just black folks) as to how we deal with these issues as ONE nation, not a black nation, black union or Black America. We understand that our history is unique from other races in America, but what next? When we put all of us on one side of the fence in one room (convention center), we don't allow the social, political, religious and educational exchange that is needed to move us forward.

The fact is, the majority of us indiviually or corporately aren't in any position of political, corporate, economic or social power, so just talking among ourselves only surpresses it within the confines our our race and limited power structure. Now, think about. With all the controversy facing Obama over his former pastor, Rev. Wright, do you really think the media would have downplayed or overlooked Obama (an African America) attending a State of the Black Union event nationally televised on C-Span without making it into a negative? Of course not! Oftentimes, politics doesn't play fair and neither does the media. They would have fed into this, spun it habitually to characterize him as a Black Candidate, just as Bill Clinton intentionally set the tone for and as one looking out for "his" people (as some ethnic groups already imply).

Wake up Tavis! You're sharp enough to know racial politics, yet were too full of your ego and your agenda to understand why it was smart for Obama not to attend, rather intentional or unintentional and jeopardize being misinterpreted even with good intentions. Don't be prideful and stubborn like Geraldine Ferraro. You missed it on this one and as someone who has admired your work over the years, you let me down on this one.

Tavis, I hope you're reading this missive. It wasn't that serious that Obama didn't attend your party. We need to look within our motives and start checking ourselves before we're so quick to check one another, esp. when all eyes are on us. Hillary had to attend, esp. after Bill's demeaning comments which he categorically denies. Well, in the history of all Presidential primary races, why did he choose Jesse Jackson out of all former candidates who've won South Carolina to compare Obama too? Race!! Let me minimize his success and stick him in the category of the other black man. The Clinton's are slick political dynastys. Hillary had to smooth it over! "If" anyone was offended. Why wouldn't we? Bill's comments were deliberate and intentionally. Yet, Tavis gloried in her presence for attending his party.

I support Obama for all the right reasons and not because he's black. He's capable to lead this country. Yes, experiences among candidates differ, but just like the real world marketplace, the best candidate for any job is not always the one with the most education (and he's got that, Ivy League) or the one with the most seniority or greater political ties, but the one who meets or exceeds the minimum requirements for the job, the heart to do the job and for all people and unify political party leaders, who essentially run the country anyways. As a former corporate manager, I learned from recruiting and hiring prospective employees that there are certain characteristic you look for in new employees beyond the minimimum requirements and it's not always the status quo, standard qualifications. Like many Democrats, I was a Clinton supporter until I listened to Obama's message of hope and change and begin reading about his plan for America as an authentic Presidential Candidate, not "black man running for President." The average American knows little more about Hillary's experiences and could name nothing specific outside of her simply being a former First Lady, so let's lay off the "experience" argument as the sole basis, simply because Bill was President, not Hillary. But she's using his name and administration to push her agenda.

Tavis, GROW UP! While you're touching primarily "Black America" Senator Obama is going beyond your limited space to touch the heart of America at large with a message for all people. We need you, we need him, we need Dems & Republicans, we need each other of all races to make America a more perfect union! I applaud him and Hillary Clinton for going against the odds of the traditional white male candidate. I just believe that Obama is about change, not politics as usual, grass roots and Hillary represents the special interests groups, status quo, corporate Democrat, who just happens to be a female. Her philosophy is the same as all of her predecessors, the old guard. The only thing different is her gender.

Posted by: makethingshappen | March 20, 2008 1:10 PM

Smiley's ego is out of control. I don't know who died and made him the boss of black folks. I'm glad that Obama didn't deem to kiss his pinky ring. He is so smug and santimonious.

Posted by: jam754 | February 26, 2008 7:18 AM

ahh lets face it, if he were to speak at the conference he would loose support in the white community, because he has assured them he wont bring up there racist history, unlike thoose other negros al and jessie. Preident Clinton held a conference on race. what would you bet that he will? he cant and wont because he has promise them he wont embarass them in exchange for their support.Is this the courage we are looking for in our community? He has distance himself from his church(the white media calls it a church with afocentric veiws)hint, hint we must discuss how much selling out is acceptable for the highest office in the world. Tavis is right thats to high a price your dignity.

Posted by: everette_1 | February 24, 2008 10:37 PM

Smiley is a notorious egomaniac/drama king diva who always has a fit when he's not the center of attention. Too bad the author didn't mention how Smiley quit talk-show gigs on both NPR and BET when he felt those networks were doing an insufficient job of stroking his considerable ego and self-appointed role as America's black spokesman. This is just another case of Smiley's insufferable vanity - which he cleverly cloaks with his "Everybody's picking on me" whining and self-martyrdom sniffling.

Posted by: roje | February 24, 2008 9:17 PM

I worry when I hear all this hatred from Barack lovers. We are in big trouble if this is the attitude through the whole general campaign. I worry about this country and the direction these people want us to go. I watch every year on C-Span TAvis Smiley black union and find it extremely interesting and educational. Some of those black people roasted the hell out of Hillary and yet she still went out in front of that hostile crowd because she cares. DO YOU HEAR ME _ SHE CARES!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: geriak | February 24, 2008 6:05 PM

Barack offered respresentation on his behalf at the State of the Black Union event, via is wife, Michelle. Tavis turned down this offer. Would you have turned down Bill as well? My goodness, Tavis!! Barack cannot be in two places at the same time! Also, the timing of the State of the Black Union event was way off track as Obama had already won in New Orleans and had turned his focus to Texas and Ohio. Looking at how close Obama and Clinton are now in these two states, it is obvious he made the right decision, again! Tavis should be ashamed of himself. I am no longer a fan of Tavis Smiley. Of course, Hillary made a point of attending State of the Black Union event, she's scrambling for black votes that she had previously taken for granted! I think it would have been disastrous for Obama had he attended State of the Black Union event in New Orleans instead of putting his efforts into campaigning in Texas and Ohio. Barack is change, new and fresh. The White House is the last place Hillary should want to take Bill anyway. I like the Clintions but hey, you've had your chance. We the people are ready for someone new and fresh. Clinton-Bush-Clinton? Wake up people! I think not!

Posted by: tmexicoj | February 24, 2008 1:07 PM

Hmm, does it not upset anyone that Mr Smiley's family is being harrassed and he is getting death threats? I presume by Obama supporters? Is this really alright with you all?

Posted by: redhiker | February 24, 2008 11:42 AM

Tavis initiated this controversy with the bashing of Obama at his 2007 SOTBU and continued with his very negative commentaries on the TJMS beginning in January 2008 through February, warning Black folks not to fall in love with Barack Obama. Tavis has not singled out any other candidate with criticism, only Obama. Ellen, go to http://www.blackamericaweb.com/site.aspx/sayitloud/smiley and listen to his commentaries; start with December and continue. And he chastises his audience about Obama as if we are political dumbies, we don't like that. And not one comment on the negative campaigning of the Clintons. Tavis had Obama on his show in October but did not utter any of his so call concerns, go figure. And I am sure Tavis has read Obama's stand on all issues. We all think Tavis has another agenda and whatever it is we don't like it. More disappointing was that commentaries were not the language of love that he constantly remind us to use. ???????

Posted by: breese122 | February 24, 2008 2:55 AM

I've read almost all of the comments before mine and I must say that we are alive and well as a democracy. While I don't agree with Tavis Smiley's approach to Senator Obama's decline of his invitation, each person does have a right to speak his mind.

I think it is refreshing that so many people chose to voice their opinion about this matter. I was encouraged to voice mine. In a democracy, we should be able to speak our opinion, chastise and criticize each other when we truly feel that another is off track.

Reading the comments written was a learning experience for me. Ruby Dee said on Tavis Smiley's show Friday that "We all are students of each other". And you have certainly been my teachers today. Thank you.

I think Senator Obama's run for president and his success thus far is very encouraging for Black people, given our history in the United States and actually for Black people world-wide. I received an e-mail from a friend, who is South African and lives in South Africa, expressing his excitement and hope. Why shouldn't Black people be excited? Even if you don't vote for or support Senator Barack Obama, this is an important moment in the history of Black people in the United States. That is the truth, all due respect to the other Black candidates for president in years past.

In spite of the sometime vehement disagreements among Black people and people of other ethnicities, progress is being made. I would suggest that we all "keep our eyes on the prize, and our back to the wind". That prize is to truly have a vibrant and healthy democracy where we all can participate, and learn to accept our differences and learn from them.

All U.S. citizens must break the shackles of racism and classism to realize as Ruby Dee said so succinctly "We all are students of each other." Do you dare to learn??

Posted by: kingwe | February 24, 2008 2:18 AM

I'm glad to see an African American man standing up and voicing his concern over Barack Obama's pompous attitude. It is becoming increasingly more evident that Mr. Obama is a performer, rather than a concerned political advocate. While the schedule of a presidential campaign is most certainly a grueling undertaking, it should not be solely about pep-rally filled arenas. Mr. Obama may be generating a ground-swell of enthusiasm but, the bottom line is, it's all about nothing. Don't forget that he's winning in states with caucuses but the overall popular vote is not so enthusiatic about Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton supporters are hard working folks who, for many, weren't able to attend caucuses due to conflicting work schedules. It's great that all the young people are coming out in droves to support Barack Obama but they don't represent the spirit of America's struggling working class.

Posted by: ellen | February 24, 2008 1:37 AM

I'm glad to see an African American man standing up and voicing his concern over Barack Obama's pompous attitude. It is becoming increasingly more evident that Mr. Obama is a performer, rather than a concerned political advocate. While the schedule of a presidential campaign is most certainly a grueling undertaking, it should not be solely about pep-rally filled arenas. Mr. Obama may be generating a ground-swell of enthusiasm but, the bottom line is, it's all about nothing. Don't forget that he's winning in states with caucuses but the overall popular vote is not so enthusiatic about Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton supporters are hard working folks who, for many, weren't able to attend caucuses due to conflicting work schedules. It's great that all the young people are coming out in droves to support Barack Obama but they don't represent the spirit of America's struggling working class.

Posted by: ellen | February 24, 2008 1:34 AM

Good 4 You Tavis! Glad someone is brave enough to call a spade a space. For the record, I don't support NONE of these candidates, they're all clowns to me.
Tavis is right - you're so afraid Obama is going to get ghettoized by the white media you make excuses for his cowardice. Have you noticed that besides Oprah, almost EVERY prominent black person has been kept at arms length? This is no mistake - they recognize there may be white backlash a la Jessie Jackson. Many whites have expressed that feeling, including Bill Clinton! That he must be a modern Uncle Tom, speaking in race neutral tones. That's why he didn't show up. Here was a unique opportunity and he wanted to send in a surrogate, his wife, to a premier African American event. That's what this is really about. Yet you are angry at Tavis for calling him on it, not Barack for chickening out. White people don't look at him the same as us, descendants of West African ex-slaves. His daddy was an immigrant from east Africa, straight out of Kenya, didn't raise him and he had a white momma to boot. He doesn't share our cultural roots in any shape, fashion or form. There are plenty of black people in the world, even here in the US, but that's different than being truly African American. Many don't understand that point, but it's true. Condi Rice is more real than he is but that's another story. That's why white people love him so much, he doesn't make them feel guilty or afraid when he approaches them; they can delude themselves they are being forward thinking, "liberal" by picking his as "their" candidate. He won't even come talk to "his people" because he knows he isn't one of us. He has his token wife to fill that role. He may be black but he's not my brother. I'm sick of black folks who will take any sellout just for bragging rights; how shallow can you get. No wonder we don't have a $#!t together - Barack's just another piece of bling.

Posted by: listudios | February 24, 2008 12:48 AM

Tavis Smiley knew Obama wouldn't choose to attend. Tavis Smiley is simply grandstanding. It's his choice, but he will also have to live with his decision to take the low road. Good luck with that Tavis.

Posted by: jameswhanger | February 24, 2008 12:45 AM

I just finish watching the State of the Black Union on C-SPAN. Mr. Smiley cleary stated that he had invited all four Presidential Candidates to the forum but only Mrs. Clinton had accepted. As a hispanic female, I felt at times that some of the presentors were feeling a sense of being owed something to them. At times the tone took a direction of a lost society of people that will now be validated by the Presidency of Barack Obama. As a hispanic female, I to can say that my people have suffered greatly. I don't think for a second that Barack Obama sees this as the second coming. He wants all people to unite and stand strong for democracy. His speeches are filled with hope, inspiration and change. While I agree that he will invoke great passages of Dr. King and the likes, he will not focus his presidency on all of the horrible things done to all people of color, culture, religion or otherwise. Hillary is not to blame for what happened in the 1800's. She like Barack are just trying to make a difference. Education is a person's best defense!

Posted by: garza1105 | February 23, 2008 9:48 PM

Tavis needs to ditch his ego and his known affiliations with the Clintons. Like others, he is a mere pawn of Bill and Hillary. He should be ashamed of himself. Hillary is behind and perplexed that blacks are not blindly following her. So she will do anything to get ahead. Obama needs to be out campaigning in the critical states where he is behind, not kissing up to Tavis.

Posted by: Amelgepo | February 23, 2008 3:57 PM

I agree with the majority of comments on this blog. It is Tavis, who I once held in high regard, that is being unreasonable and petty by attempting to put Obama on "blast" for declining to attend his event. Tavis seems to think that he holds so much clout with black Americans that his doing so, would affect the opinions of black America towards Obama. Just goes to prove how much respect that he has for the group he claims to love. For number one, black people have MINDS of their own. We are an intellegent people, and do not need a spokes person to direct us. Obviously, we have collectively listened to the arguments and actions of both candidates and have decided that Obama would be the candidate that would benefit us most as a people. NOT just because of his race! For me, his record as an activist and civil rights attorney in Chicago, clearly demonstrates that he is no "Clarence Thomas". He is extremely intellegent and has a clear VISION of uniting the entire country!! As for Hilary, I get sick and tired of everyone touting her 30 years of experience. First of all, First Lady is not a public office. Second, What did her husband really do for blacks? Just because he "hung out" with the TJMS and played on the sax on Arsenio Hall show, does not mean he gets a ghetto pass to black America. Memo to Tavis: Black America does not owe the Clinton's loyalty or anything else. We want to the best candidate, which is clearly BARACK OBAMA!!

Posted by: lojack180 | February 23, 2008 12:48 PM

What is wrong with you people?? Tavis is getting Death threats and his MOM and Brother are bieng harrassed?? And you most of you all are condoning it..Like its OK...WOW..Why?? Because Tavis felt that it would be a good setting for Barack to address the plight of the people in New Orleans.

I went to New Orleans to try and help clean up almost a year after Katrina and it was still a mess.

I wonder if Barack would have took time out to go to NEW Orleans if he had not already won LA?? Seems like now that LA has voted he has no need to vist there, even though that New Orleans is where Tavis decided to hold the State of the Back Union and to invite ALL the candidates. So i wonder who cares more about who?

I was leaning for Obama but i have to say that some of the comments and actions that i've seen for his supporters is very telling.

Ya. it is a close race but Sen.Clinton is going to take out her campaing to be there?? That too is telling..

Posted by: slientintruder | February 23, 2008 11:04 AM

Both candidates are intelligent, savvy politicians who will do what they think is neccessary to support their campaigns. I am an African American female who questions who is Tavis Smiley ? He is a journalist and promoter who makes a GOOD DEAL of money talking about issues that he decides are relevant. His event is about him. More power to him as businessman, but he does not speak for all segments of African Americans. It is time that he and others realize that skin color is not the only variable in how people come to decisions about their lives. There is no monolith of black opinion that Tavis is the spokesperson for. Get a grip people make up your own mind based upon what you feel is important in your life.

Posted by: charzee527 | February 23, 2008 10:10 AM

I believe it is unconscionable for Tavis Smiley to attack Barack Obama because he cannot spare the time to make it to his event. Clearly, Obama is in the make or break moment of his potential presidency. If he does not win Texas and Ohio it could mean that Clinton could take the election through Super Delegates. I am an activist and an African American. I am sorely disappointed in Tavis Smiley's callous self promotion at the expense of this historic run. Is Mr. Smiley really that short sighted? Do the efforts, hopes and votes of millions of Americans including Black Americans really mean so little to Mr. Smiley? If Obama's campaign got negative coverage at this crucial moment I would have expected it to come from Republicans. Instead I have to see it come from Tavis Smiley. Shame on him. If we lose Texas or Ohio it may be due in some part to Mr. Smiley.


A Concerned Black Citizen

Posted by: kikibaby67 | February 23, 2008 8:21 AM

Tavis is short minded. He thinks to be the center of
the black community. The politics are more complex
than he thinks. If Hillary will be there it is not
because she is more a black issues fighter than Obama
or I who heard about that Union for the first time
today. She has made her political calculations. Has
that been a White or Caucasian Union you would not see
her there expecting to get the black vote. Blacks and
whites issues sensitivity are not that simple or frank
in this country. Obama needs to run a bit more as a
candidate of everybody than anyone else. Make it a
Union of Underprivileged People and you will see him
there. Invite him to something that claims to be
promoting black people you won't see him unless he
wants to be a candidate of black people with similar
results of Jesse and Sharpton. Do not expect two
candidates from an 80 and 12 per cent communities to
run with similar precautions. Without this election
you would see him there with his entire family.
When will people learn to understand the dynamics of
things? These kind of empty speeches, unions or
associations are one of the things that keep us behind
while other communities are prospering. For everything
involving black people all prominent blacks should be
there. What a logic!

Posted by: kizm12 | February 22, 2008 6:34 PM

As a black American who spends half of the year in France, I am amazed at some of the comments posted here. Mr. Obama is not confident he will win in Texas. Does anyone in America really watch the news or read the newspaper? He is behind in Texas, he is behind in Ohio and he is behind in Pennsylvania. He wants to focus on his goal which is to become the President of the United States.

Mr. Obama declined Mr. Smiley's invitation. While it may be subtle, there is a difference between declining an invitation and refusing to show up at an event. To all of you who feel that Mr. Obama doesn't have the right to pick and choose his engagements, especially the events sponsored by blacks, how racist are you? For Mr. Smiley to castigate Mr. Obama, because he declined, is juvenile.

Mr. Smiley is not the voice of Black America. He does not speak for me. He should not speak for anyone in Black America. He is entitled to voice his opinion and that is all.

Living both in France and the United States has really been eye-opening for me. I am more aware of the box we, as black people, put ourselves in to seem united. I am more aware of the subtle ways that racism is perpetuated by everyone. We talk about the possibility of having the first African-American president. However, we seem to believe that an African-American president would have some special obligation to African-Americans. I argue that they would not.

African-American is a political term that was coined for some purpose. I find the term exclusionary. Every black person in America is not African-American. Every group of people who find themselves on the fringe of society are not African-Americans. Maybe Mr. Obama is trying to be everyone's president.

The notion of majority rules goes out the window when someone understands that as President, you are everyone's president. Mr. Obama may wisely decide to lead and run his administration by consensus. That means that some of us will not always be happy with his choices. However, we may be happy with his leadership. It would bring a type of reason and civility that has been lacking for so long.

As for the open primary switch sides conspiracy, that takes a lot of organization; and frankly, from what I have seen in America lately, no one has the will to work together to achieve a common goal.

Posted by: tangoparisienne | February 20, 2008 4:41 AM

Tavis indeed made a "miscalculation" in unfairly trying to box Obama into a corner by questioning his loyalty to the Black community. As the previous poster Mamawa stated, I too have listened to Tavis' commentary over the past month (over the last year for that matter) and he has shown nothing but disdain towards Barack. Oh sure he has tried to disguise his tirades by claiming that he's doing this out of his "love for Black folk" but his rhetoric was filled with clear dislike for Obama and was condescending to his listeners. It's no secret that he is close with the Clintons and if that's who he has chosen to support then so be it, but don't patronize me by "acting" like you are fair and balanced. People need to wake up! Tavis is working for the Clintons! He clearly wants Obama there to debate with Hillary however Barack has stated that he will do only 2 more debates with Hillary and the SOBU is not one of the venues. Why would Obama give into a platform that Clinton have been trying to get him to participate in? This was Tavis and the Clintons way to slip in another debate and Obama did not fall for the okie doke! If anyone feels that Tavis is a fair and impartial party to this, just do a little research. Tavis and Bill are very close, Hell the man has even flown in Air Force 1 with Bill, not to mention he has a nice link to Bill's book on his website with a special message from the former prez himself saying how good of friends they are! Tavis is not slick, he is in bed with Billary, and like I said cool, but don't play your listeners like fools thinking that you're only doing this out of love. You have an agenda just like the rest of us, just be honest about it! M'kay!

Posted by: patelinton | February 19, 2008 1:03 PM

Tavis Smiley is a favorite. Obama not yet.
Michelle is great BUT too eager to be a first lady wrapped up in bizarre populism.
Something is wrong.

Posted by: tabita | February 19, 2008 11:18 AM

Not a very good strategic decision Tavis. You may very well have summarily dismissed our future First Lady Michelle Obama as not being good enough to be featured at your event.

As it is, we all know the annual State of the Black Union....not very good as it has not been for the last two decades. The truth is the State of the Black Union is in a state of arrested development and its best chance of changing for the better anytime soon lies with the hopeful future success of the Obama family and not with your rehashing of the same issues year in year out.

Meanwhile, you have given an open platform to the one person who is doing her best to derail Obama's and our best opportunity to change our current state.

Tavis you have made a strategic mistake and I will leave it at that.

Posted by: csfoster2000 | February 19, 2008 3:41 AM

Now Tavis wants to play the victim, when he has been publicly criticizing Sen. Obama for over a year.
First Tavis and Cornell West were angry that Senator Obama announced his candidacy from the steps of the state house in Springfield Ill.
Then Tavis was dismissive of Obama's victory in the Iowa caucus and his commentary just seemed to get progressively worse.

To me Tavis has lost all objectivity when it comes to Sen. Obama and his listeners know it. To threaten to put the candidates on blast if they don't attend his forum was beyond the pale and his listeners let him have it. Tavis went too far.

Posted by: ringcassie | February 18, 2008 11:33 PM

Mr. Smiley, the "miscalculated" and critical mistake is yours. You turned down Michelle Obama.... she is the reason everyone supports Barack Obama!!! This woman is dynamic and she is the WOMAN beside this man and has what seems to me a lot of influence in this campaign. It's your lost.

Posted by: erykah1218 | February 18, 2008 10:13 PM

What bothers me is people who have not heard Tavis speak on the Tom Joyner Morning Show over the past few months and constantly attacked Obama. This invitation was just the last incident. Every week, we heard Tavis attacked Obama for many instances, example, he was mad that people chanted "race doesn't matter" after the victoy in SC. Another week, he said that he gets annoyed when people said that "Obama transcends Races". I can go on and on things he has been saying. He always attacked Obama, not Clinton or the other runners. It was obviously unfair, unnecessary and it blew on this face PERIOD
He has been threatning, belittling Obama and constantly scauled at the voters everytime the was a victory. SO if yu do not know the whole story, please SHUT UP and do some research.

Posted by: mamawa | February 18, 2008 7:05 PM

See comments like the one below truly irks the heck out of me! Some folks tend to forget what happened between Iowa and South Carolina. The Clintons (yes I said Clintons) polled very high amongst African American leading up to South Carolina. That is until Hill and Bill made some comments that were deemed racially divisive in their attempt to remind the "good southern white folk" that Obama is a Negro. It was the Clintons who introduced race into the game by comparing Barack to Jesse and dropping code words by referring to Barack as a "kid". Not until these mis-steps by the Clintons did Black folks began to take a closer look at BOTH Hillary and Barack and decided to go for a candidate who is not only very qualified but can be an agent to bring this country together. Something I doubt Hillary can do. Having said that, I'm sure many of us remember that most Black folk did not support Barack initially. Some by their own assinine reasoning, claiming that he wasn't "Black enough". The Clintons took full advantatage of this pitiful mindset to the point where Bill actually began to believe that he was indeed the first "Black president" and felt he could say anything without reprecussions. Well I guess he got his "Black card" revolked in a quickness! So please don't blame the racial politics on Barack, the Clintons started this and it back fired!

_________________________________________


Posted by: tim591 :

For all his rhetoric, Sen. Obama has succesfully divided America. You are a fool or naive if you believe that there is no racism in this nomination. The Obama campaign with the help of media cleverly manipulated this to gain the overwhelming support of the black people. They even attributed the blame to the Clintons. How can you explain the reason why Sen. Obama is getting 80% of the the black voters if not for this? By getting less than 20% of the black voters, you would think that Sen. Clinton is not acceptable to the majority of the black voters. But this is not the case. The Clintons are also loved by these constituency. The only reason is because she is running against a black man. If these black voters are voting en masse for Sen. Obama, you can be sure that other races will do the same. This is the sad story in this campaign.

Posted by: patelinton | February 18, 2008 4:11 PM

I am ashsmed and disheartened with black america. I feel where tavis is coming from. I am a 50 year old africa-american female. There is nothing wrong with tavis inviting the 'THREE PRESIDENTIAL" hopefuls to the event. barak should have showed up if the other two didn't no matter what. without excuse. He's confident in his ability to win texas. SURELY, he could have taken a small amount of his understandably busy schedule to accommodate the event. Barak has proven that he want to cherry pick the settings he finds himself in. particularly as the settings relate to african americans. he is afraid of the issues he may have to deal with and his answers, or lack of, may make him less-appealing to black supporters or caucasina supporters depending on questions he has to answer.
I support you tavis. black america has turned their backs on the clintons. It is disgraceful and hypocritical. The clintons stood with us long before we knew of barak. and for issues that mattered to us and that were unique to us. this is not barak bashing. i love the brother. i love black people. i just think that our decisions should be "INFORMED DECISIONS" and not just emotional ones. We should always do our homework on candidates regardless of race and/or gender. Experience has always been something that we as blacks had to exhibit. We had to have it in order to get the job. Even when we demonstrated it, we may or may not have gotten it. this is what was done to us. This is what makes us such hypocrits. We have forgotten where we came from. We have forgotten what matters. we are doing what has been done to us. where are our morals?
i love you tavis. you have done nothing wrong. i know you love barak and you love black people and you identify with us. it's not you. it's the hypocrits who have not demonstrated an ability to make "an INFORMED DECISION". instead, they have made a decision on "EMOTION." i thought we had gotten passed that when jessie jackson and al sharpton proved that a black man can make a credible and viable run for the white house. they were well-versed on the issues and did not cherry-pick their settings because they were not afraid that they might lose caucasian and/or black voters if they didn't say what he felt they may have wanted him to say.
SHAME ON US BLACK AMERICA!

Posted by: ctrs1100 | February 16, 2008 01:44 PM

I challenge ctrs1100 to explain to us exactly what policies that Bill Clinton actually stood up for us.

Do you realize the Black prison population exploded under his administration. Did you know that the disparity of minimum sentencing between crack and powder cocaine was instituted under his watch. Did you know that the Bush administration appointed more Blacks to higher positions than Bill Clinton. There was Genocide going on in Rwanda during his administration and he did nothing.

Now don't get me wrong, I think Bill did great things for the economy that helped everyone.

I don't have a problem with Tavis inviting Obama and the other candidates. However, the tone he used to put Obama "On Blast" for not attending is what has bothered me and many others. He could have merely stated the facts, Obama declined the invite because he felt he needed to be someplace working on securing his nomination as the Democratic Presidential candidate.

I attended last year's State of the Black Union I found it very informative and insightful. I also purchased Tavis' books, but when you're wrong you're wrong. He needs to admit his mistake and all will be forgiven and he can go forth and do the great things he has been doing for Black America.

T. Webb

Posted by: webbt | February 18, 2008 2:56 PM

I think as Black people we owe Mr. Tavis Smiley an apology. Since when is it okay to threaten any person and their family because of what others "THINK" his political affiliation is?
Let me start first by saying I am an Obama supporter. I think this man is magnificent, and his declining the State of the Black Union does not bother me in the least. I think he has to do what he feels is best for his campaign.
We all need to think of the comments we are making, and how they sound. I even read a comment above mine stating that Tavis needs to get a wife....what does this have to do with anything? Why must you make personal attacks against a person you know nothing about? Honestly, it makes US (Blacks) look like an ignorant people.
Tavis has not stated who he actually supports. As far as we all know, he might be an Obama supporter. He is just doing his job. His goal is to help us all move forward as a people....this is what is lacking for Blacks today. Many are complaining that Tavis thinks he is the voice of black America...well you know what....at least he is trying to do something about the state we are in! I truly believe Tavis' heart is pure, and he loves us all. Many of us have to get out of this mind set that it is okay to complain and degrade instead of overcome and uplift!! Come on my Black brothers and sisters...we have to support one another. That is why our society is broken now....because we do not know how to love ourselves and one another.
So stop hating on Tavis for doing what he feels is right. He is not hurting Barack Obama's campaign. If you are a true supporter, nothing Tavis says will sway you. For those who are on the fence,listen to Obama's entire message to us. Keep in mind whose politics match your political beliefs. Who is speaking to you? There are so many atrocities befalling blacks right now. Let us take all of this negative energy we are spewing over Tavis, and utilize the same excitement for something positive.
God Bless you all. Stay positive.

Posted by: esmith1973 | February 18, 2008 1:45 PM

OMG!! This beginning to get VERY annoying. Tavis' ego is outrageous! And for the uninformed people who don't take the time to do independent research would find that Obama is the better candidate. I can't help but wonder if because Obama's father is Kenyan and not a "brother" are some southern black not happy with him. The people that Tavis claims to speak for have spoken overwhelmingly against Tavis. I would be ok with his apparent strong dislike for Obama if he was as hard on the other candidates. Anyone can objectively come to a conclusion that he doesn't like Obama. I bet you he won't question Hillary about being describing herself as a young republican and a Goldwater girl! I bet he won't question her husbands policy on NAFTA (the reason we don't jobs are being sent overseas) I be he won't question her about her vote on IRAN giving Bush another chance to supposedly do the right thing. I bet he won't ask her why she won't release her taxes and be transparent. (She will only do so after getting the nomination when it is too late) Give me a break people!! WAKE UP... Hillary is Not Bill. and by no means am I saying that Obama is perfect. Tavis does not speak for me and I would venture to say that he doesn't speak for my generation that is filled with educated 20something year olds.

Posted by: Myrell002 | February 18, 2008 1:33 PM

SOMETIMES PEOPLE ACT AS IF THEY DON'T HAVE COMMON SENSE. IT IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE: BARACK HAS TO FOCUS HIS ATTENTION ON HIS CAMPAIGN. HILLARY HAS DEEPROOTED STRONGHOLDS IN TEXAS, AND HE HAS TO WORK DAY AND NIGHT TO SUCCEED IN ALL OF THE UPCOMING CONTESTS. OBAMA IS TREMENDOUSLY GRATEFUL FOR THE BLACK VOTE, I'M SURE...BUT BLACK PEOPLE, DON'T GET IT TWISTED, BLACK PEOPLE DID NOT PUT HIM WHERE HE IS TODAY. THEY MAKE UP A SIGNFICANT BUT SMALL PERCENT OF OVERALL VOTES. AND, BLACKS HAVE ONLY RECENTLY JOINED THE BANDWAGON, BECAUSE THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM TO BEGIN WITH. NO MATTER YOUR RACE, OBAMA SUPPORTS THE NOTION THAT THE PEOPLE ARE IN CONTROL OF THEIR OWN VOTES. STOP TRYING TO PUT HIM INTO A BOX, HIS JOB IS TO ADVOCATE FOR AMERICA, NOT JUST BLACK AMERICA, LATINO AMERICA, ASIAN AMERICA, BUT THESE INCLUDED.

TAVIS SMILEY WAS JUST VERY DISAPPOINTED THAT OBAMA COULDN'T SHOW UP AND MAKE HIS EVENT TRULY SPARKLE. AND TO TURN DOWN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE MICHELLE OBAMA AND HILLARY CLINTON ON THE SAME STAGE MAKES HIM AN EVEN GREATER FOOL, BECAUSE I, AS A BLACK WOMAN, WOULD PAY TO SEE THAT!!

Posted by: tynachryis | February 18, 2008 10:50 AM

If Tavis wants any chance of remaining in the public eye... he really needs to shut up. I have love for the brotha but his behavior is quite unseemly. Obama is doing what he needs to do and has enough adversity without Smileys two cents. I haven't heard him going after Clinton in the same manner he has Obama. We have looooooooong memories. We don't forget things.

Love... I keep hearing him SAY that but in his Valentine's day message he basically called Barack and Michelle liars. I don't see love there. He has been undermining Obama for a while now and if he thinks he is feelin the pressure presently... just wait til those ratings start fallin and he can't GIVE a book away.

As a new generation voter... I would advise Smiley and other prominent black "leaders" who have been behaving similarly to stop and think about the recourse of their actions. With 80 percent of black voters choosing "change"... we may just vote next time to change YOU... Just ask Al Wynn.

Posted by: tommy_allen | February 17, 2008 6:08 PM

potomac_river I am a little confused about your direct response to me. I think we are saying the same thing. You are right there is no "brotha man, hook up" that was my point. But it seems that Black America feels differently. If Barack is not held accountable for addressing any issues concerning African Americans now, then why do so many of us think that will change once, and if he is in office? For the bloggers that keep asking Tavis who elected him as spoke person, I say this: He obviously did, someone has to step up. There is always room for anyone willing to fight, represent and remind the rest of America about the disparities in the black communities. Stop talking about it, be about it, what are you doing to make a difference? Everyone is making this about Tavis, and it's not. The symposium reaches over 100 million people and those people are tuning in to hear issues that specifically affect African American's why would we not expect Barack to be there, particularly, in an election year? Tavis does not need Barack to be there for him, the request was made by Tavis, on behalf of Black people. Tavis and Barack already have a relationship. But, I want to know as an African American how my vote for him will make a difference in MY LIFE. Although it would have been great to have McCain present, as one blogger asked: Why isn't Tavis going after him? The answer to that is, he's a Republican, how many folk attending the State of the Black Union are voting Republican? Also if half of the Republicans failed to show to the Republican Debate hosted by Tavis, held last September why would we expect them to show to this? The issues concerning the African American community are not important enough to the Republican Party. Black America needs to wake up. Your point about blacks helping themselves is also well taken. However, if the only thing blacks did was look in the mirror, then guess what? We would have a bunch of black folks just standing in the mirror. Someone has to move from the mirror and bring these issues to light. I agree with Tavis, and admire his courage. Keep standing strong!

Posted by: alicjohns9 | February 17, 2008 5:31 PM

I don't believe that there have been any death threats against Smiley (At least, not related to his disrespect of Obama). I feel Smiley is attempting to salvage his image by trying to appear as the victim.

It seems that Tavis Smiley has either lost his focus on the prize, or it was never part his real agenda. Tavis went on the Tom Joyner Show and loudly intimated that he would bring the seven great plagues onto any invitee who chose not to attend his forum (with that annoying repetitive egotistical, exaggerated style of his).
Then after feeling the backlash, he claims great injury and misunderstanding.

He appears not to have the ability to see things globally. Nor does he have the ability to admit he made a significant error. However, he is apparently skilled at selective amnesia.

I think he would do well to pull out his Martin Luther King CD's and listen to the speech on the "Drum Major Syndrome". Else, he may soon find that he is no longer a part of the band.

Posted by: james.sumpter | February 17, 2008 5:30 PM

First; there are no excuses for death threats. With that out of the way I feel that Tavis is more so concerned with his ego and financial gain. Yes I dare say financial gain... why do I say so. First; Tavis has been very critical of Obama in his segments on the TJMS. The sponsor of his segment is Walmart. By the way; who once sat on the board of directors of of Walmart; no other than Hillary Clinton. She at this moment has two Walmart lobbyist working within her campaign. To make matters worst; back in February 25, 2005, PRNewswire-FirstCall reported that Walmart made a $100,000 donation to the Tavis Smiley Center for Professional Media Studies. I my opinion; the conflict of interest that Tavis has in this campaign is too great.

Posted by: aford | February 17, 2008 4:19 PM

@ksmithholmes,

I get tired of people like you trying to justify your choice of Hillary. Just back her, not with a preface of " I'm black and I like Hillary". That's like saying I'm a good negro boss, I'm not like the other bad ones. Obama is half white by the way. The ugliness of this race has been injected by the Clintons and it is about to get a whole lot worse.

Posted by: mackmusic78 | February 17, 2008 4:07 PM

This is transparent. Smiley is a Clinton operative. This is a ploy like the debate ploy: Clinton wants to take Obama out of the campaign and try to get some game-changing controversy or statement going.

Posted by: Malia2 | February 17, 2008 4:05 PM

This is a testatment to how rabid and full of hate Obama's supporters are. It is so disturbing to watch. What happens if he doesn't win? Will we have race riots in all major American cities? I think so. His entire campaign is a farce. He claims to be a uniter, but all I've seen is the opposite.

Posted by: brigittepj | February 17, 2008 3:41 PM

Obama's supporters in the blogosphere go absolutely insane if they don't get their way, and I worry the public at large is ceding this over-the-top group of noisemakers far too much power and influence.

A small sampling of their comments is enough to let you know they are zealots who will let nothing stand in their way.

A word to the wise: I think we're dealing with an increasingly incendiary and dangerous group of people.

The irony, of course, is that Obama and his campaign continue to present him as the new messiah who will unify the country and change the world.

Posted by: ichief | February 17, 2008 2:53 PM

I am truely disappointed in the actions of Black America as a whole. First and foremost, I live in Illinois and my family and I are driving down to New Orleans this weekend to attend the SOBU, I just went and purchased Tavis' autobiography in the hopes that I could get him to sign it when I saw him. Tavis is catching hell for merely doing his job, where can I ask is his ego getting in the way? I do think that it is important that Barack make an appearance there because he has better understanding of what us, as African Americans deal with on a daily basis, in regards to heath care and social injustices to name a few. There are two forums that go on for the SOTBU, a morning one and an evening one, and I am pretty sure that he could have squeezed us in there somewhere while on the campaign trail. With that said, I am however a supporter of Mr. Obama, I believe that he embodies "CHANGE." I feel that his stance of education is one that is fair and would be widely accepted. I watch and listen to people stating that is doesn't have any experience when it comes to foreign affairs, but to be honest our current leader did everything in his power to destroy of foreign alliances doesn't seem to me that he had much of a background and foreign affairs. All in all, the death threats and public criticism towards Tavis is ignorant, he has dedicated his life to making sure that black issues are brought to the forefront and that we as a people are made aware of the situations that effect our community, it is terrible that we have resorted to a political form of black on black discrimination. I understand that Barack disicion to

Posted by: blkberry1227 | February 17, 2008 2:17 PM

Sen. Hillary vitriolically expresses her views on Sen. Obama's gifted oratory when
obviously her husband has the same gift and is making MILLIONS of Dollars in doing so..

Maybe she needs to try another approach.

Posted by: Iwantmyvoicetobeheard | February 17, 2008 2:05 PM

Regarding the super delegates, exactly what is the point of having them? If neither candidate reaches the magic number of delegates needed to win the nomination, Obama supporters are saying those delegates should vote according to the popular vote -- the will of the people. From what I understand, super delegates are supposed to support the candidate they feel is the right one for the job. Now, some of those delegates who publicly support Hillary are feeling pressure to flip flop their support to Obama. Those delegates who have to worry about being re-elected are being forced to give up their principles just to save their jobs. If it ends up that all of Hillary's supporters are forced to flip flop to Obama if he wins the popular vote, the super delegate system should be discontinued. It is not working. If Hillary ends up winning the popular vote, would Obama supporters agree that all of the super delegates should vote for her?

Posted by: mafox1 | February 17, 2008 1:49 PM

It's a shame that Obama followers would criticize Tavis Smiley for his comments. Turn the table around and had Hillary not accepted and Obama had then I'm sure there would have been criticism for Hillary. Tavis keep your head high and don't let RACISM keep you from doing positive things in our community. Obama is not God, not the 1st Black man to run for President and just because he is BLACK-some folks are voting for him! I'm a Black African American woman that happens to have listened to All the debates and most of the speeches and Hillary IS by far the best choice for President. Obama, unfortunately is being pushed out front in most of these primaries because alot of Republicans ARE voting for him because they know he would be easier to beat than Clinton. During all their debates time and time again they all mentioned beating Hillary, not because they didn't think Obama would stand a chance, but because they knew she would turn this country around and get us back on track. If you don't believe me DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH-I find it hard to believe that as much as we want race to not play a role in our decisions-I see our Black people are just as racist as some redneck white people. If you can only say I'm voting for Obama because he's black, then you need to step up and research who is the best candidate for the Job, not based on race but on ideas, policies, etc,

Posted by: ksmithhomes | February 17, 2008 1:41 PM

In all fairness the DNP should step up and admit signals were given before the voting began that Florida and Michigan delegates would be seated no matter who won the state.. Especially Florida since it was republicans in control of moving their primary up and breaking the rules. The party can ill afford to have Florida feel alienated in the general election. Instead they let Clinton take the fall.
No one thought then these delegates could determine the nomination and I do not think they will or should now. But to bash Sen. Clinton for trying to do what is best for the party while giving Obama a pass for trying to change the super delegate rules put in place long ago is the height of hypocrisy!
Super delegates were put in place when the party decided to make the nomination so open to outside influences. They were created for exactly the situation we now face, when a movement threatens to co-opt the political party and/or the voters are swayed toward someone who may not be best for the party or country.
We are seeing the price to be paid for opening up the nomination to the general public. What is next; a general election for the democratic nominee, then another in November? In all likelihood this will be decided on popular vote, I only hope Florida's count does not have an impact. God help us if (shades of 2000) the overall popular vote is thwarted because of a technicality (not counting) involving Florida! I blame the Democrat National Party for this fiasco and for not having the courage to defend their position(s).

Posted by: CliffinWA | February 17, 2008 1:33 PM

This is obviously a sensitive subject, but it must be discussed: persons who are not african-american see hypocrisy in the "black" community. They seem to be abandoning politicians with whom they have more in common ideologically, in order to support a man who shares their skin color. The 85-90% rates at which black voters are choosing Obama is clearly the result of racial identification(please show me how this is not the case, I cant see any way around it). This seems to be the same type of racism which the black community professes to abhor.
The lack of loyalty to the Clintons is very sad.
Why not just admit why you vote this way, black people? Why pretend otherwise? It is smarmy.

Posted by: johnL1 | February 17, 2008 1:15 PM

Who is divisive? Who is polarizing? Does Obama understand what he is awakening with his "hope and change" rhetoric? It is clear that many Obamaists don't want hope or change. They want POWER...and so does he.
Mr. Tavis should be able to say whatever he pleases, by the way. Isn't the United States the land of freedom? (free speech included?)
The papers and news media is doing absolutely nothing about this behavior of the Obamaists but if Mr. Obama wins the nomination the sentiment is going to be even more intense and the presidential race is going to become about all the things an election should not be about.
At this moment in history it is all very telling and very, very dangerous.

Posted by: poh123 | February 17, 2008 1:14 PM

cooterbooter wrote:
Clinton's recent erosion of Black support, it is strategically worth her while to attend Tavis' function. Likewise given the fact that Obama's support in the Black community is far stronger than his support in other segments of the American population (e.g., White, Asian, Latino), it is strategically wise for him to spend less time campaigning to the choir and more time campaigning to the less than convinced

You miss the point that this event is not for campaigning purposes. Your statement also shows that unfortunately it appears that Obama is willing to accept the black vote but then will not appear to discuss their issues. I might be inclined to think that this is nothing more than using his race when it counts for him to get votes but then ignoring them and refusing to speak to them when it appears not to advance his personal goals. I personally find this contemptable and nothing more than pandering. I also find the attacks against Tavis to be deplorable and showing that if you are black you are expected to fall in line with all blacks and vote for Obama no matter what. Is this the message that is being sent that blacks are supposed to not think and decide their candidate on their own but are to blindly follow someone because of their skin color? I don't like the whole stench coming from this campaign at all! And to those Obama supporters who attack anyone who does not agree with your fervor, then remember, that is not a message of change but a copy of republican lite tactics that most democrats deplore.

Posted by: justmyvoice | February 17, 2008 12:12 PM

Tavis, sorry, not 'Travis'.

"optik_b....'These Obama supporters are starting to remind me of Hitler supporters, really insane fanatics.'
You hit the nail on the head with that statement." pbrown82002


So long as the nail was in his head to start with, he appears to have been hitting it for some time....'Hitler supporters'? That's just idiocy, plain and simple. Obama as the anti-christ? For goodness sakes....do you really believe this stuff, or are you just out peddling hate?

Posted by: Seytom1 | February 17, 2008 11:58 AM

Now let's see we've been having the State of the Black Union for a few years now, but it has been more about talking than actions. Has it increase the involvement of the participants in helping the community at large? NOPE! The State of the Black Union should focus to the State of the Black "Solutions."

The Clintons have used and exploited the plight of Black Americans to get elected. Let's stop calling Bill Clinton "the first Black President" because he is NOT and support and elect a real Black man as president. OBAMA 08!!!

Posted by: sachiellem | February 17, 2008 11:56 AM

Travis, if it's not your role as a journalist to boost Mr. Obama, why is it within that role to publicly criticize him for not appearing on your show?

Your roles as journalist and self-promoter are conflicting, and the journalist isn't winning.

Posted by: Seytom1 | February 17, 2008 11:42 AM

Mr. Smiley: I guess you and Hillary still don't get it. If you had a State of the Union address, I suspect you would have had a better reception. But you choose to pander, preach division of the past and you got the last of the big panderers--Hillary. Enjoy your conference but I also suspect that if you were that good you wouldn't be relegated to PBS.

Posted by: NewEra | February 17, 2008 11:37 AM

Get real Tavis, Barack offered you Michelle don't be rude and turn him down or watch your own life go down the tubes due to your ego.

Posted by: DANIELLECLARKE | February 17, 2008 11:17 AM

I have never been wrong in my entire life.

I loved Travis Smiley, with all my being and gave him the befit of doubt against strong opposition around my circle. Case in point, every time I tried to watch his presentation on television, people literally lives the room when he is on, and I always beg them to give him the befit of dout. They always told me, he is an egotistic and an irritant SOB.

I am l utterly disappointed by his reckless adventure. Obama, not only addressing what is ailing African American community but beyond.

From now own, he should take his show and concerns back to Ohio where he came from and prove to us how he can improve the situation of impoverished African American community.

He has cheated his way to fame until now accidentally promoted by late mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley,

He is the fool of the century in my book.

Inglewood, California

Nat

Posted by: natgeda | February 17, 2008 10:39 AM

Obamabites you have got to be the most ignorant group of people I have ever heard. The attacks on Tavis are baseless and show some mental retardation of your ability to think. Tavis has done more for the black community than obama ever has, obama played the black candidate masterfully in SC, but wont address them when it comes to the seriousness of the issues?

The obamabites and obama campaign only know how to try and assassinate some ones character. You all are frankly disgusting, and when Hillary wins the Nomination, your going to have to grow up and get involved intelligently, there maybe some of you who won't, quite frankly we don't need you in the Democratic Party you have done nothing but divide us and you weren't there before.

There was a poster on another article that stated you try and destroy people to get them to see the light. You people are sick and act like a bunch of Nazis, that is how Hitler, Hussein, Osama Bin Laden gained their prominance and there are many of you who are no better.

Posted by: sjl106 | February 17, 2008 10:20 AM

How much?? How much did Travis Smiley receive to kneecap Obama?? Or maybe Bill clinton promised him some kinds of high profile position? Listen Smiley, clearly your ego and agenda are not the same wavelength as with the rest of Black America. You are as much a leader as much people are willing to listen and follow you. Death threats are never justified, I am sorry people feel they have to resolve to that to get your attention.
However, you can count on no longer having my ears. You are more dangerous to America than anyone could imagine, you are the enemy of Black America disguised as an Angel. Obama needs to campaign, and you want him to stop and come to your thing, come on ... While he come to stroke your ego, Bill Clinton is loose attacking at will.

Posted by: vsamedi | February 17, 2008 10:16 AM

He is right. Obama has displaced many of his own people out of there homes due to what Rezko has done. Has Obama did anything to fix that. Not to mention that while Michelle Obama sat on the board of the University of Chicago Hospital, they did nothing to change the policy at that hospital of taking no one that doesn't have health insurance. Mind you that hospital is also in a large area of his own people.

Posted by: rmary65 | February 17, 2008 10:10 AM

Many people are mentioning that 18 debates are enough. But there has been only one debate between the final two candidates. One debate is not enough.

Posted by: mafox1 | February 17, 2008 9:55 AM

Here are some details from the Massachusesetts mandatory health care program which Clinton wants to make national:
"What are the costs? Costs are determined by family size to be covered, age of adults to be covered and income level. A single person must pay the FULL COST of insurance premiums if their income is greater than $30,636. A couple must pay the FULL COST of insurance premiums if their income is greater than $41,076. A family, 1 couple with one child, must pay the FULL COST of insurance premiums if their income is greater than $51,516, and so on. Government assistance is provided to those making less than the stated income level within each family size mentioned above. To get more information on the assistance provided, you may go to www.mahealthconnector.org . This assistance may be changing soon, as indicated by this recent article in the Boston Globe. www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/02/15/health_plan_rates_may_rise_by_14/
Below is a table with premium costs PER MONTH of plans currently available within numerous categories:
Single making more---------------------Insufficient------------------Good---------------------
than $30,636/year--------Age----------Coverage-----------------Coverage------------------
---------------------------------30--------------$199.40--------------$347.69 - $473.42
---------------------------------40--------------$201.30--------------$396.00 - $577.00
---------------------------------50--------------$253.20--------------$441.50 - $826.06
---------------------------------60--------------$398.81--------------$695.39 - $946.83

Couple making more--------------------Insufficient------------------Good---------------------
than $41,076/year--------Age-----------Coverage-----------------Coverage------------------
---------------------------------30--------------$428.72--------------$747.54 - $1060.80
---------------------------------40--------------$579.84--------------$884.00 - $1252.29
---------------------------------50--------------$586.87--------------$942.00 - $1717.43
---------------------------------60--------------$857.43--------------$1144.00 - $1906.63
Family, 1 child more--------------------Insufficient------------------Good---------------------
than $51,516/year--------Age-----------Coverage-----------------Coverage------------------
---------------------------------30--------------$618.15--------------$1077.85 - $1572.00
---------------------------------40--------------$792.48--------------$1390.71 - $1673.67
---------------------------------50--------------$845.23--------------$1475.49 - $1915.00
---------------------------------60--------------$1139.53------------$1984.00 - $2415.07
About this table - The column titled "Insufficient Coverage" is the monthly premium for the cheapest plan available within all categories. The reason I titled it "Insufficient Coverage" is that I believe it is just that! This plan has a $2000 deductible per person, or $4000 for a family. It only covers 20% of hospital stays after the deductibles are met. I don't believe this is a worthwhile health insurance plan because the premiums don't justify the high deductibles, and because what we uninsured really need is protection against a huge unexpected hospital bill. I included this option in the table, however, to be honest about the lowest cost plans that are available. The column titled "Good Coverage" is the monthly premium for a range of different plans that have low or no deductibles, and 100% coverage for hospital stays. To see all the plans available for every family size and age, you can go to www.mahealthconnector.org . "

Posted by: bluefusion | February 17, 2008 9:44 AM

This whole "dilemma" is ridiculous and does nothing to further Tavis Smiley's cause of improving the "State of Black America". His event is an annual event that results in a lot of "brainstorming" but arguably minimal longterm consequence for "Black/Brown" America. Senator Obama's run for the presidency is perhaps a once in a lifetime event with the potential for massive long term consequence benefitting not just "Black" America but all of America. Unfortunately, politics in America has a strong strategic component. Given Senator Hillary Clinton's recent erosion of Black support, it is strategically worth her while to attend Tavis' function. Likewise given the fact that Obama's support in the Black community is far stronger than his support in other segments of the American population (e.g., White, Asian, Latino), it is strategically wise for him to spend less time campaigning to the choir and more time campaigning to the less than convinced. Further, let's not forget that we still live in a society divided along racial lines meaning non-Black folk are less likely to vote for a candidate that they perceive to be only a "Black" candidate. Was it not only a few weeks ago, when Bill Clinton and the Clinton campaign attempted utilize this sad but true fact in America by not so subtly injecting race into the presidential campaign through it's attempts to color Senator Obama as a "Black" candidate (e.g., references to Jesse Jackson winning southern primaries when Jesse Jackson was not even the topic)? Clearly, strategically speaking, Senator Clinton has far more to gain by appearing at the Tavis Smiley function whereas Senator Obama, from a strategic perspective, would have far more to lose by his attendance. What benefit to America, especially Black America, would there be if Senator Obama attends the State of the Black Union function but then loses the presidency and the opportunity to take all the wonderful brainstorming that occurs at this Union and actually make it a reality? Shame on Tavis for not being able to see the difference between short and long term gains and basically skewering Senator Obama for acting strategically in his best interest which is really no different than what Senator Clinton has done. However, once again race has clouded the picture (e.g., what is strategically in the best interest of a white woman is likely to be far different than what is strategically in the best interest of a black man when it come to American politics).

Posted by: cooterbooter1970 | February 17, 2008 9:31 AM

What would have been far more interesting to me would have been for Tavis to invite both Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama to speak. We've already had Hillary and Barack 18 times for debates (w/ two more to come)....enough. We haven't seen Bill and Michelle on stage together and that would be exciting and NEWS. Michelle Obama can give anyone a run for their money and Bill would be evenly matched with her. They both have inspiring speaking styles in different ways and I think it would give a reason for people to tune in, beyond the crowd that the event is for. Bill Clinton is wonderful to listen to. Michelle Obama is a refreshing new voice and I think that the two of them together would be hard to beat. They are both great advocates for their spouses as well as just a pleasure to listen to.
And I think that Michelle would actually be a great challenge to Bill, maybe pushing him beyond his usual oratory in a good way. Face it, he hasn't been challenged too much in this way, and I think it'd be good for him.

On another note, I'm an Obama supporter and while I can relate to the passion his supporters feel, I am disappointed in those who demonize and threaten others who feel differently. That is the opposite of the spirit of Obama's campaign and why we respond to him so strongly. There are other ways of persuading that are far more effective and do not alienate others....it's called good communication, and it's more difficult and subtle than the same old politics, but, give it a try.

Posted by: bklynny | February 17, 2008 9:28 AM

Tavis, please, grow up! By the way, what can Hillary say about the "State of the Black Union" that Michelle can't?

Posted by: coliver3110 | February 17, 2008 3:16 AM

Tavis, please, grow up! By the way, what can Hillary say about the "State of the Black Union" that Michelle can't?

Posted by: coliver3110 | February 17, 2008 3:16 AM

I do not know much about Tavis myself.
But as an Obama supporter, I like to say Sen.Obama is not running as a candiate for black america, he's running for presdent of united states of America.

He never has, never intented to, and never will narrowly represent a single segment of the population. And as for declining Michelle Obama, that' just ridiculous, she's an even better advocate sometimes than Barack himself, too much ego in this, nothing else mattered.

I feel sorry that he got hate mails, but tell you what, Sen.Obama cares about American people, and we care for him back, and the movement behind him is undeniable.

For those of you misinformeds, I hope time will prove his values to you, and one day you will all finally wake up!!

Posted by: airborne5982 | February 17, 2008 3:03 AM

I used to have a great deal of respect for Tavis.....but now, he just comes across as yet another hater. He would like to think that his message of accountability is what is causing all the stir, when in fact its (1) His tone-although he tries to hide it, he hates that Obama is getting the attention that he is so used to in the black community; (2)His assumption that black people are so ignorant that we would vote for someone simply because they're black; and (3)His assumption that black people need him to tell us to take a reality check (sounds like Hillary actually).

Tavis knew full well that his impromptu invitation to the SOBU was going to cause a stir. If Barack accepted it, there would be media attention leading to the label of the 'black candidate' or if Obama declined, it would be an opportunity for Tavis to spew his rhetoric that Obama doesn't care about the black community. Either way, it wasn't going to be good for Obama.

Obama is running for President of the United States. He has a full pre-planned schedule, and Tavis knew that. It was a challenge, and I'm proud that Obama didn't fall for the bait. And quite frankly, considering how Tavis, Charles Ogletree, and Cornel West dogged Obama out at the SOBU last year, even if Obama didn't have anything else to do, I couldn't blame him for declining.

Tavis, you are important to the black community, but just not as important as you think you are.

Posted by: kim.moses | February 17, 2008 12:08 AM

It is a shame that some comments in this blog are clear evidence that for many Obama followers reverse discrimination is OK. What a way to unite americans around their leader!

Posted by: trace-sc | February 17, 2008 12:05 AM

It is a shame that some comments in this blog are clear evidence that for many Obama followers reverse discrimination is OK and still want us to believe their new prophet will be able to unify America.

Posted by: trace-sc | February 17, 2008 12:04 AM

Tavis, your State of the Black Union should have accepted an appearance by Mrs. Michelle Obama. Senator Obama is in the middle of a very tough campaign where he is BEHIND in the polls. I am certain that if Senator Clinton offered to send her husband or daughter as a surrogate, you would have accepted.

Secondly, your State is absolutely shameful. I saw your State once, and was embarassed by the lack of decorum, the "up in heres" and the ghetto slang. I shuddered at the thought that other people in other countries would see those shenanigans and judge all black folks by the buffoonish behavior. The State that I saw was some kind of Soul Train.. Mama' House mix. I believe I wrote you about it.
You need to lift your standards and conduct yourselves as the mature thinking people that you are.

I have never ever seen any other ethnic group exhibit such minstrel behavior. I will not be watching your State because it is too painful. We must establish standards of academic excellence, speaking English well, learning science and foreign languages and be ready to compete.

In spite of the very distressing level of mintrel presentation, you ought to be honored that Mrs. Obama would have been available. Clinton ought to be taken to task about her vicious, negative, and vile personal attacks against Obama by her and/or her surrogates... Bill, Charlie Rangel..Bob & Magic Johnson. Obama and his surrogates have only spoken well of Clinton. Address that at your State and exclude the laughter, high fives, where you ats, and save them for the un-filmed after party.

In peace---let's lift up, not tear down..

Imani De la Perez

Posted by: imanicongracia | February 16, 2008 11:52 PM

People calm down. I am going to the State of the Black Union. I support Barack Obama. Tavis Smiley can say whatever he likes about whoever he wants because that is his right. JUST AS Barack Obama can choose or not choose to go to the SOBU because that is his right. If you don't support Smiley's comments about this matter than use the power of the dollar by not listening to his broadcasts, attending his programs, or buying his books. If you think Obama is showing a blatant disregard for the issues of black people than don't vote for him. Sending Smiley death threats though and hate mail is insane and goes against everything the Obama campaign stands for. Furthermore, until you have actually taken the time to listen to what Smiley said than you can't make an educated determination if its even worth the effort to be upset. I am including the link to the commentaries Smiley made so people can do that. His comments on Obama about this matter are on 2/12 and 2/14. People get informed. http://www.blackamericaweb.com/site.aspx/sayitloud/smiley

Posted by: ahopej | February 16, 2008 11:51 PM

Mrs. Obama once said that Obama needs to run for President now, "before we forget who we are."

I think Tavis is saying...."Obama has forgotten who he is."

Think about it.

Posted by: Georgiapeac21556 | February 16, 2008 11:51 PM

Tavis Smiley who appointed u the spokesman for the black people. U need to pack up and go home, didn't u get fired from somewhere and now u just trying to promote ur show, Michelle could have represented Obama just as well if u really care about Black issues.
Tavis for every step we as black people take forward people like u manage to pull as two steps back for porposes of self promotion.
Quite it Tavis.

Posted by: forjarigirlonly | February 16, 2008 11:31 PM

optik_b wrote: "These Obama supporters are starting to remind me of Hitler supporters, really insane fanatics."

Hitler supporters? Really?

Last time I checked, I haven't sent any one to a gas chamber. I haven't performed any medical experiments on innocent people. I haven't rounded up fathers and mothers and children out of their homes for routine extermination. I haven't pledged allegiance to a leader who intends to exterminate an entire race of people.

Do you intend to continue making such ridiculous statements of comparison? Is this how you present your arguments to the public, by displaying your ignorance to the entire world via the Internet, where it can be saved on a server forever?

I'm sure you'll try to pass it off as an exaggerated but innocent remark -- as if the victims of the 20th Century's worst genocide deserve to be trivialized. Unfortunately you show your true character with remarks like that.

Posted by: potomac_river | February 16, 2008 11:20 PM

Tavis inviting Obama to appear and his follow-on comments causes three main problems.

1) If he read the news he would have realized that Barack turned down a request from Hillary for her chosen number of debates because he wanted to hit the trail.Perhaps Tavis is not a master of deduction but he ought to have pondered the consequences for Obama viv-a-vis Texan and Ohio voters had he accepted his invitation.

2) Obama has campaigned and won Black Southern states so to accuse him of not taking seriously issues affecting Black people is not only an insult but also an affront to all those voters Perhaps Tavis feels he has been selected by Black people to front them. People are angry because of this.

3) Whether he intended it or not, he as a journalist has now become the story perhaps there is no publicity as bad publicity.

It is interesting that a man campaigning found the time to call him twice on 2 separate lines and also wrote him a latter. Obama has the right to refuse Tavis's invitation without being insulted. Or is it perhaps Tavis discovering that he needs Obama more than Obama needs him!

As for the death threats, is he accusing Obama supporters in particular, Black people in general or he rather leave it up to Hillary supporters to speculate?

Posted by: richard | February 16, 2008 11:03 PM

"Tavis who? Oh, yeah, Tavis Smiley!" Most of the Obama-haters here wouldn't know a PBS show unless FOX went off the air. This is the most they have ever heard about Tavis Smiley since they, uh, found out about the State of the Black Union... from C-SPAN!

Posted by: falasifa | February 16, 2008 10:44 PM

We finally got ALL the delegates accounted for, and here's the breakdown with no more outstanding: 1137-1008, with Obama having a narrow lead in Feb. 5th delegates.

Full breakdown: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2008/02/delegate-breakdown-with-all-delegates.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | February 16, 2008 9:46 PM

optik_b...."These Obama supporters are starting to remind me of Hitler supporters, really insane fanatics."
You hit the nail on the head with that statement.

Posted by: pbrown82002 | February 16, 2008 9:43 PM

You're absolutely right, mafox1, "Your comment brings me to the one vote that Obama deliberately missed: the vote on the IRAN resolution."
Very important vote, but of course he will talk to the terrorist. I prefer someone kill the terrorist, but, that's just me.
You said..."What I think it shows as a senator is that he didn't take a day to go to Washington to vote against a very important issue that he spoke out against."
I agree. Now now, trick-or-treating is more important than fighting terrorism.( I said in a smarmy tone)
God help us if he's elected, and his $845 BILLION Global Poverty Act is instituted.
We'll see if anything becomes of the Larry Sinclar accusations.

Posted by: pbrown82002 | February 16, 2008 9:39 PM

These Obama supporters are starting to remind me of Hitler supporters, really insane fanatics.

Posted by: optik_b | February 16, 2008 9:29 PM

pbbrown - Your comment brings me to the one vote that Obama deliberately missed: the vote on the IRAN resolution.

During Michele Obama's interview on Larry King Live on Feb. 11, Larry mentioned that obviously Barak is special and asked her "What does he have?" She said, "This is my opinion as a wife." Some of the things she said are, "He is a phenomenal support to her and the girls. This is a guy who, in the midst of this race, hasn't missed a parent-teacher conference. He took the girls Trick or Treating. He came home for a day to buy the Christmas tree. He took me out for our anniversary." I think this shows that he is a good father and husband. What I think it shows as a senator is that he didn't take a day to go to Washington to vote against a very important issue that he spoke out against.

Posted by: mafox1 | February 16, 2008 9:20 PM

Pardon, I repeat myself.

Posted by: pbrown82002 | February 16, 2008 9:07 PM

mafox1, you said...."Maybe someone remembers that within the last few months, Obama was invited to participate in a march organized by black citizens (I think maybe in Louisiana)and he declined, saying there were a lot of senate votes going on."
You are aware I'm sure that obama's missed 40% or 170 votes.
He's missed more than the hildabeast. She stands at missing 24% or 108 votes.
Whatever he's doing with his free time, he ain't voting.

Posted by: pbrown82002 | February 16, 2008 9:03 PM

mafox1, you said...."Maybe someone remembers that within the last few months, Obama was invited to participate in a march organized by black citizens (I think maybe in Louisiana)and he declined, saying there were a lot of senate votes going on."
You are aware I'm sure that obama's missed 40% or 170 votes.
He's missed more than the hildabeast. She stands at missing 24% or 108 votes.
Whatever he's doing with his free time, he ain't voting.

Posted by: pbrown82002 | February 16, 2008 8:58 PM

Maybe someone remembers that within the last few months, Obama was invited to participate in a march organized by black citizens (I think maybe in Louisiana)and he declined, saying there were a lot of senate votes going on.

Now, he declines to speak at the State of the Black Union event. Am I seeing a pattern here? Obama supporters are making excuses for him saying he has to campaign. I think Obama supporters should watch what he does if he happens to get invited to another black event. I think he doesn't want to attend any all-black events. No good!

Posted by: mafox1 | February 16, 2008 8:40 PM

I totally agree with Tavis. He is so much more caring of the Black community than Mr. Obama. You see - he has transcended race and to me that means - his support is sponsored by the users of the Black community. Long before I knew of Mr Obama - I KNEW of Tavis. To those Buogise Blacks who are so lost in their history and don't know anything about, nor do they care - I was then and have always been offended by Barack Hussein Obama's trancending of Race. I don't espect many whites nor blacks to understand and really don't care if they do or not. They should vote for and campaign for Obama, and welcome in the McCain administration. Hopefully Tavis will continue on and forget Joyner and the rest - because as he said, He is a free Black man in the 21st century and no one speaks for him, can Obama say the same (I doubt not). Good luck Tavis and forget these clowns.

Posted by: dlkincaid | February 16, 2008 8:40 PM

Wow, I'd think that Smiley and the State of the Black Union organisers would be just a tad sympathetic to the situation Obama's in right now.

But since Hillary's dropping everything to be there, perhaps they can ask her why she thought it was a wise political move to try to marginalize her only serious contender, the black candidate for president?

People who think Obama's trying not to align himself too strongly with black issues are seriously short-sighted. Do they want a black president or do they want Jesse Jackson 2.0?

Posted by: daily_optic | February 16, 2008 8:36 PM

Tavis Smiley started this whole thing to bring Barack down because he is a Hillary supporter but it has backfired and he can't stand the heat. I don't believe he's been threatened one bit.

Barack is already getting 80% of the black vote, which is 10% less than Bill Clinton got simply because he ate barbeque and hired a few black folks. After this "Barack doesn't want to talk about issues that effect black people" nonsense, I suspect he will get 90% of the black vote. We can tell a hit job a mile away!

Posted by: Free_Ride2300 | February 16, 2008 8:31 PM

Travis, get a clue! Obama is running for President of United States of America. He is almost at the finish line. And you want him to STOP short, take time out, and give a speech for you...abandon the ship?
Time to put on your THINKING CAP. These last three states OHIO, TEXAS, PENN are the GAME OVER states. These are the BIG TICKET STATES. WHITE STATES... RED STATES... And you bad mouth the guy. What is with you? By the way, this is coming from a white, over 50, Florida voter...whose VOTE DOESN'T COUNT.
WAKE UP
we want the guy to win
DO YOU?

Posted by: lee.jazmin | February 16, 2008 8:26 PM

You obama supporters need to check your meds. Y'all act like he's the second coming. He is no Messiah, as he's being portrayed all over the net, if anything he's the opposite, the Anti-Christ.

Get a grip, bang your heads against something to snap yourselves out of this delusional state. What color is the sky on your planet?

Posted by: pbrown82002 | February 16, 2008 8:23 PM

Smalley is obviously taking advantage of this opportunity to get some press for himself. What an idiot. It is important for ALL of us (whites, blacks, hispanics, whatever) that Obama focus on the primary so that he can get elected. Anyone that can't see that is an idiot - I suspect if the man has any free time, which he doesn't, maybe he'd like to spend it with his kids. What an arrogant ass to make a big deal out of this.

Posted by: jlcassell | February 16, 2008 8:15 PM

Mrs. Obama, however great she may be, is not an appropriate substitute for Barack Obama. Black people have traded their allegiance with the Clintons' for one with the virtually unknown Obama and given this man over 80% of their votes. Obama could use this forum at Smiley's event as a way to further introduce himself to black America and thank them for their votes. Votes given him primarily based on shared pigmentation, because I have yet to hear Obama address in a direct way any issues that are salient with our community.

Maybe his refusal should sober us up and make us take pause. Should we bestow so many of our hopes and dreams on a man who I think is afraid to personally represent at "the State of the Black Union" because his presence there may disturb some of his white constituents (who are attracted to him, because he has an atypical black heritage and upbringing and does not talk about race issues forcefully like Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson) and he does not want to take questions concerning the continued disparity between African-Americans and white America. Less those questions and answers disturb some white supporter's sensibilities. Read more at:

http://theblackamericandiscussion.blogspot.com/2008/02/tavis-smiley-unfairly-catching-hell-for.html

Beni Dakar
Duluth, GA

Posted by: wedaconnectionmoderator | February 16, 2008 8:00 PM

Get a grip Tavis. You are too blessed to become so stressed over the Obama issue. You are too talented and intelligent to fall for this trickery of the others using you to cause distress among the African Americans. I have always given you credit for being on top of the news and issues of the African Americans. If you fall victim to the other Press sources who will keep us informed for the good of the Nation? You are the man. Just back off professionaly like you know how to in all other situations.

Posted by: Eqadirah | February 16, 2008 7:24 PM

It is unclear what Smiley's issue was as regard Obams's attendance nor do I know what remarks he made. The apparent rejection of Mrs. Obama is troubling. A simple review of the election calendar should dispel anyone's notion that Smiley's event should have been given priority on either of the Obams's time and schedule.

Smiley is a public figure with stature and standing, but his remarks are misplaced. The following is a bit much: "I think it is a miscalculation on his part not to appear and a missed opportunity." At this late date(in the primary election cycle) I fail to understand what calculations were incorrect and the opportunities were lost by Obama; Simley's lament may be he has miscalculated his journalistic ends with those of his annual State of the Black Union event. Perhaps a day or so on the campaign trails of central and northern Wisconsin by Smiley with a cameo video presented at his annual confab would have served all well.

I am no fan of Joyner or Smiley but do recognize they have a voice to a wide spectrum of people, and Smiley does have excellent guest on his television program. Indeed, they are two voices but neither individually or in combination are "THE" voice for any group. In years past I would respond to such matters herein with the question: What shade of Black paint do you want? If such a question was ever needed, it is not today as today's relevant question is one of similarities as opposed to differences; the similarities that can bridge difference for productive ends for all concerned. Opportunities? It appears if Smiley was a journalist first, and promoter second all would have been better served.

Posted by: ADLEED | February 16, 2008 7:07 PM

Question???? DID MCCAIN ACCEPT THE INVITATION??? If not, then why isn't there any uproar from Tavis about that? End of discussion. Tavis you being a man of God, a little advice...

2 eyes to see
2 ears to hear
ONE MOUTH TO SPEAK

Posted by: pureheartwj | February 16, 2008 6:57 PM

Tavis Smiley is catching heat for good reason. Although his summit is important, it pales in significance of Sen. Obama's need to campaign hard in Ohio and Texas. Mr. Smiley also foolishly turned down request for "The Closer," Michelle Obama to speak in Barack's stead. That was dumb. As for the Obama campaign not returning his calls -- wrong -- they have been extremely responsive.

Tavis, figure it out, bro... Climb down off your high horse and call Michelle and extend a warm, heartfelt invitation. Surely, you'd like to be able to visit the Obamas in the White House residence next year.

Posted by: jade_7243 | February 16, 2008 6:47 PM

Hillaryites: How does it feel to know you will be voting in November for the candidate you are demonizing now?

Posted by: gmundenat | February 16, 2008 6:32 PM

"While the overwhelming majority of the media seems to have gotten the memo, poor Mr. Smiley apparently didn't check his inbox: Dare to criticize Obama, and you can expect jihad to follow.

Not unlike Muslims in Denmark who rioted over a cartoon, Obama's crazy cult followers will countenance not even the tiniest amount of criticism when it comes to their messiah - with an emphasis on NONE.

Posted by: gmeierhoff | February 16, 2008 12:39 PM"

It was the press of Denmark that printed a cartoon, and to my knowledge it was mostly not the muslims of Denmark who protested, but in the middle east. burning swiss flags, and danish. Ignorance will get one nowhere. Besides, I don't think this is something to be compared with what this article presents. I've no comment about the article other than this.

Posted by: gusnijul | February 16, 2008 6:27 PM

Tavis is right. Obama thinks if he gets elected all the black/white problems will go away. He is dreaming and his campaign will fall as a fairy tale by next month. Obama is ashamed to be discussing black problems.

Posted by: vs_sv | February 16, 2008 6:16 PM

As a responsible parent, how many times have you had to disappoint your children in something they wanted to do or felt was very important to them in order to tend to the necessary tasks at hand. Parents know that if they don't work, no one gets anything they want. Tavis can get together with all of those that feel it important and things will work out just fine. By the way haters, are you going? Obama has work to do, everyone else - stop acting like children (or crabs in a barrel)!


Posted by: nquashie | February 16, 2008 5:59 PM

I think people have to actually listen to Smiley's long tirade on the Joyner show. I was personally troubled and dissappointed by it. Smiley's could have made his point in two minutes but continued to go on implying that Obama was using the black vote, ridiculing his "blackness" and ridiculing the option of Michelle attending. It was a ego trip by a man who seemed wounded that HIS event would be now be less significant without Obama. I wonder how Smiley's alliance to BET had to play into his ill-advised RANT on the higly popular Joyner show. And of course Clinton will show up, she would love to have as many events in States that don't matter to her because she knows that as long as the people don't get to know Obama she will easily when TX, OH and VT. A lot of the backlash isn't about race, its about people being appalled that someone would be so self-concerned to not respectfully understand Obama's reason not attend and realize that Obama's campaign is the essence of not just the "State of the Black Union" but the "State of the United States" , black, white, latino and asian.

Posted by: oshowole | February 16, 2008 5:28 PM

Barack Obama's political success is a challenge to mainstream black opinion makers like Tavis Smiley who primarily see the world through the lens of race, and who think that white people would never give a fair hearing to a black politician. And then Obama comes along and whites see past his color and listen to him and decide they like him. Yes the election of Obama would force many to re think what they knew was true.

Posted by: xango | February 16, 2008 5:20 PM

alicjohns9: The problem is, too many people are expecting Barack Obama, and government in general, to do things for them that government cannot do.

Black America could solve 90 percent of the problems facing Black America by looking in the mirror. That's a fact. Barack Obama is a presidential candidate. He is not the Messiah. There will be no "brothaman hookup" when he's in office, any more than there would be if Hillary or McCain were president. No government can provide such a thing. We're the only people who can hook ourselves up. And if we don't hook ourselves us, we shouldn't waste time hating on people who do.

Posted by: potomac_river | February 16, 2008 5:16 PM

I would like to know why color is so important. Obama is trying to get the white votes as he knows that the blacks will vote for him if he is for them are not. I would rather have Colin Powell running I can bet he will get all the votes. Obama is not a American. He never mentions America. He says he can fix the health problems. Well do it now as we all need that. I am tired of people thinking blacks will follow anyone. Because he is half black and half white and raised by white grandparents.I would like to think that we are smarth enough to look at the history of these people that are running and vote for the one that is right for america.

Posted by: JIMMIEJWADE | February 16, 2008 5:04 PM

This non-sense does not matter, neither did Puerto Rico, neither do Hillary's attack ads, or her tears, or Florida and Michigan, or anything else from here on in. She needs EVERY state, with at least 60%, or she will have fewer delegates going into the convention. the supers will not betray their own voters. She can win Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania--SHE WILL STILL LOSE. It's over. This time, the Black vote is not going to be taken for granted! What will the Hillary voters do when it's Obama .vs. McCain? Vote Republican? Stay home? How does it feel?

Posted by: gmundenat | February 16, 2008 5:00 PM

Will someone PLEASE show me a quote, or play a sound bite, where Tavis Smiley has dogged Barack Obama. This has gotten ridiculously out of hand. Your article is so biased, inaccurate, and simply a retype of what I read on the bloggs. I am ashamed and embarrassed of Black Americans right now. This is not about TAVIS SMILEY and his so-called ego. Tavis Smiley is being thrown under the bus for simply doing what he has ALWAYS done which is empower, promote, educate, and raise issues surrounding the black communities. This is simply a smoke screen to divert our attention away from the real questions. When Tavis introduced the book Covenant of Black America, Black people embraced the book, so much so that it was not just pushed to the top 10 spot, but number 1 on the N.Y Best sellers list. Black people everywhere took a stand, that whomever was running in the 08 election would have to earn our votes, we were no longer going to allow issues concerning Black people go undressed, politicians were going to have to deal with, and address our concerns. But now, because black America believes that Barack is the next "savior" he gets a free pass? What happened to the issues? What happened to the stance? Because we have abandoned our post is Tavis supposed to do the same? We all know that Barack is not just running for "black America" but all of America, but what does that mean? Does that mean that the issues concerning black America need not be addressed right now? If not now, when? If not Barack, than who? Are we that gullible to believe that we will be given some sorta "brotha man, hookup" when and if Barack gets in office? Is it then and only then that he will deal with issues concerning black America? Tavis did not know that Barack was running for office when this book came out 2 years ago. He said he would challenge the next presidential hopefuls on all the disparities, concerning African American people. And that is what he has done. All I have heard Tavis speak on, is what he promised he would speak on 2 years ago, which are the disenfranchise of African American people. He invited the man to the state of the black union, and simply put Barack once again respectfully declined. It is quite unfortunate, and a miss opportunity on Barack to not attend this event. Furthermore, the offer to send Michele Obama who is smart, articulate, and well spoken, is inappropriate simply because she is not running for the Presidency, and Bill aint speaking for Hillary. Everyone knows how important it is for Barack to continue his campaign, we get that, in no way has Tavis compared this symposium to Barack's need to campaign. But one should wonder why Hillary has elected to attend an event represented by and for blacks, when she has fallen behind in her bid. These are the real questions. So called journalist, television hosts, radio disc jockey's, and Tavis wantabes are trying to boost ratings, and build their careers over, the fact that Tavis Smiley believes that Barack, like Hillary, should attend the symposium, a platform to address our concerns, in an election year? Are we serious? People, this has always been Tavis's position and expectation from any Presidential hopeful. Tavis, stay strong some of us get it, those that do not get it, unfortunately wont because they are incapable. Stand strong on your integrity, continue the fight for our people, I guess you gotta love em in spite of. God Bless.

Posted by: alicjohns9 | February 16, 2008 4:55 PM

sego wrote: potomac_river : Aren't your comments somewhat condescending?

----

My response: Truth is a harsh mistress, but we must learn to embrace her nonetheless. Washingtonpost.com is a public forum. That means, if someone posts something I consider to be ignorant, I get to respond to it. And so do you.

----

sego wrote: However, that should not be anything surprising since it came from the
follower of the "movement". I guess, whoever does not agree with the movement deserves to become a target of insults.

----

My response: Hey, you must know me and who I am. Maybe you went to college with me, or maybe we were co-workers once. THAT must be how you know me, and how you can jump to conclusions about my affiliation as a "follower" of a "movement." Oh wait, you don't know me ... you're just talking stuff. I see.

Posted by: potomac_river | February 16, 2008 4:53 PM

And to Tom 1966. The only thing racist were the comments repeatedly made by the Clinton campaign during this race. God dont like ugly.That's why their stategy backfired on them. That's when the black community coalesced behind Obama. Honestly if black people had been doing their homework they would have rebuked Bill Clinton in 1992 when he used the same subliminal racist tactic against Rev. Jesse Jackson, which his camp labeled as the "Sister Soulja" stategy.

Posted by: semajh7 | February 16, 2008 4:40 PM

Barack Obama is running for president of the United States of America, not president of black America. If elected president, Obama's cabinet and White House will be staffed by a majority of whites, obviously, just like his Senate Office, and his campaign staff, because that's whose in the majority in this country. Judging by this little firestorm, one can glimpse how an Obama presidency will totally change our perspective on race. Remember, he only happens to be an African American. He's under no obligation to jump every time some black group calls.

Posted by: xango | February 16, 2008 4:39 PM

Tavis thought his "Barack doesn't want to debate black issues" would get Barack in trouble but he's the one in trouble. So, I have no sympathy for the problems he's having because, I don't believe him. It's just an attempt to gin up sympathy. Tavis Smiley is a Hillary supporter and he is so OVER!

Posted by: Free_Ride2300 | February 16, 2008 4:35 PM

Tavis chill out bro. You can have Hillary. We already know who you support. We didn't see this much indignation from you when the Clinton campaign repeatedly injected racial remarks into the race. What's in the dark will always come to light Mr. Tavis.

Posted by: semajh7 | February 16, 2008 4:31 PM

I'm troubled with the continued assault on African Americans who are not completely supportive of Barak Obama's campaign and I think everyone should be. I think Jesse Jackson Jr threatening Black Caucus Leaders that they will have a tough time in their next primary if the don't switch to Obama is heinous, so is this assault on Tavis Smiley

Posted by: cwolff1 | February 16, 2008 4:05 PM

To quote ctrs1100:
"The clintons stood with us long before we knew of barak. and for issues that mattered to us and that were unique to us. this is not barak bashing. i love the brother. i love black people. i just think that our decisions should be "INFORMED DECISIONS" and not just emotional ones. We should always do our homework on candidates regardless of race and/or gender"

You sound like you don't follow the same advise you give, Senator Obama has supporters from across America, White, Black, Hispanic, Young, Old, Male and Female. Are you implying that all the Senator's supporters have not done their "Homework" on the Senator?

It sounds like it's you who hasn't done your own "Homework" on the candidates.

Senator Obama is running for President of America. The Voters in every state deserve his time, not just any single demographic in the U.S.A.

Its time you looked at the fact that hes not running to be the leader of all black people, hes running to be leader of the free world.....

Go and search for information like everybody else so you can make an "INFORMED DECISION" on the candidate you choose to support, not based on Race or Gender.


Happy Voting

Posted by: election_watch | February 16, 2008 3:59 PM

Wow. Great comments. Many are mad because white people WONT vote for a black. I guess you guys should check the delegate count. Here is a tasty tid bit of info. How about blacks REFUSING to vote for a white when their is a black candidate. As long as the media doesnt roast you on this fact, who cares how RACIST it is.

Posted by: tom1966 | February 16, 2008 3:38 PM

potomac_river : Aren't your comments somewhat condescending?

However, that should not be anything surprising since it came from the
follower of the "movement". I guess, whoever does not agree with the movement deserves to become a target of insults.

Posted by: sego | February 16, 2008 3:33 PM

To ac11:

Have you ever watched a "State of the Black Union" forum? No?

But you've learned enough about it from the title, to pass judgement on it and its participants???

Just like many people make their decisions for President based on bumper sticker slogans???

My suggestion for you, is to watch the program first... Then pass judgement if you so choose! But do so, from a place of knowledge and enlightenment!

Thank you!

Posted by: louis.chatman | February 16, 2008 3:32 PM

Obama's problem with Smiley's function, I would guess, is this: he has an unscrupulous opponent with a demonstrated willingness to try to marginalize him by casting him as the candidate of one race of voters - an opponent willing even to fan the flames of resentment of blacks among other races if that's what it takes for her to win.

Posted by: officermancuso | February 16, 2008 3:26 PM

"State of the Black Union"???

'State of the Black Union' seems shockingly inappropriate somehow ... it demeans and belittles people. Labels and marginalizes them.

If Barrack wins the Presidency will Blacks be very brave and let go of their wound? Some people live and breath their wound ... they don't want anyone messing with it ... fixing it ... healing it. They are so identified with it ... This is what I see in some Black people (and in others regarding different issues).

'State of the Black Union's' time has come and gone. We are one people ... one Union. There is a choice to be made. Will you take hold of this opportunity and allow the wound to close.

Say NO to that which seeks to divide. I'm glad Barrack did. He is a President for ALL people and that he refused to play this tired old game of race woundology by not attending a 'State of the Black Union' is commendable and consistent with his principles and view of the world.

Posted by: ac11 | February 16, 2008 3:26 PM

What better forum than Tavis Smiley's "The State of Black America" conference for Senator Obama to participate in. The physical location of the conference is New Orleans, Louisiana; but the broadcast will be nationwide, maybe even worldwide. This conference will give Obama even more visibility and the crowd will be VERY friendly to him.

I think that it is short sighted and misguided for Obama not to make some time to participate in these powerful panel discussions. I think Obama's real reason for not going is this" OBAMA (THE CANDIDATE WHO "HAPPENS" TO BE BLACK, WANTS BLACK VOTES WITHOUT BEING OVERTLY IDENTIFIED AS A "BLACK" CANDIDATE. WHICH MEANS THAT IN SOME WAY HE IS USING BLACK VOTERS' FOR A MEANS TO HIS END; WITHOUT WANTING TO EVEN SHARE IN THIS PREMIER BLACK EVENT.

Blacks are drunk with the possibility of Obama winning the Democratic presidential nomination and possibly even the presidency in November, so they are giving him a pass on this and making Tavis Smiley unfairly the scapegoat. Sometimes, I think black Americans want things both ways: we feel snubbed and angry when President Bush refuses to address the NAACP or The Urban League (and most of us are not his constituents). But we overlook and make excuses for Obama, who has the support of most of us when he refuses to make time for the premier forum for black public policy. Then some sick small minded folk want to send hate mail to Mr. Smiley and his relatives.

Mr. Smiley has done so much to amplify the issues that matter to black America, for him to face this kind of hostility from other black people is abominable.

Beni Dakar
Duluth, GA


Posted by: wedaconnectionmoderator | February 16, 2008 3:25 PM

Oh yes, I must chime in. I am an educated Black female in my prime age,very much on the current events of world all the way from the global economy to domestic issues here in the US and I must admit it was only about 3 years ago that I became vaguely aware of Tavis Smiley. And once I did I was not impressed. You see I learn at the age of 13 for me that I wanted very little to do with anything and anyone that was and is totally focused on one race of people. I know that is why I am an avid supporter of Barack Obama. We need to stop focusing on how to make like better for just one group of people and recognize the divisiveness that type of thinking and behavior invokes. We are one people. Tavis Smiley is a self-appointed caretaker of Black people. He is simply using race as a means of making money. I have no clue and no desire no anything about what he thinks because he is monolithic and I don't feed into that type of thinking. It is racist. I admire Barack even more for focusing on what he has to do for the people of the United States - - all races, all ethnic groups, all sexes. If he and family are getting threats I don't support that behavior either. Tavis just have your little deal and you have the one you need to be talking to - - Hillary. Of course, she is attending for selfish reason. She could care less about Black people or any other group for that matter. I'm not going to go and on about this. "When someone shows you who they are - - believe them". This is who Tavis Smiley is. My intuition has proved accurate.

Posted by: ddraper81 | February 16, 2008 3:17 PM

dadio4003: You should learn how to spell and use grammar properly before you say things like, and I quote, "Keep your head up Tavis I,m sorry some of our people don,t understand politics they get to emotional." You're not in a position to make that sort of judgment.

Posted by: potomac_river | February 16, 2008 2:59 PM

I have benn waiting for this,Obama is not running as a black,he running as a crossover.He did not attend this event last year, wakeup black america. If he beat Hillary he will not win, he shouldn,t have introduce race into the contest in S.C.the republicans know this they are saying Obama only want to be the President for black people.Watch the mainstream media turn on him if he beat Hillary.Obama will you have your delegates vote to seat the delegates from FL&MI? Why should we be punish because the republican Gov.& party voted to moveup the primary the Dems. had no choice but to go along, we didn,t have $4,million to hold a separate primary.You did run adds in FL, two weeks before the election. so you could seat our delegates.Keep your head up Tavis I,m sorry some of our people don,t understand politics they get to emotional. Obama has had a good run, the republicans will have no mercy on him. I listen to rightwing radio to see what they are saying,they plan to go at him really hard its not going to nice.

Posted by: dadio4003 | February 16, 2008 2:53 PM

Obama must attend this conference, as he has a lot of Dean people on his staff and most of his web money has been raised by them. Dean had a strong position against affirmative action and Obama has some explaining to do.

Posted by: rahaha | February 16, 2008 2:50 PM

ctrs1100 wrote: I am ashsmed and disheartened with black america. I feel where tavis is coming from. I am a 50 year old africa-american female. There is nothing wrong with tavis inviting the 'THREE PRESIDENTIAL" hopefuls to the event. barak should have showed up if the other two didn't no matter what. without excuse. He's confident in his ability to win texas. SURELY, he could have taken a small amount of his understandably busy schedule to accommodate the event.

-----------------------------------

You're wrong on so many different levels. Where do I start? First of all, a sure way to lose a primary in any campaign is to believe that you've got it in the bag. Obama may be confident of his ability to win Texas, but if he's not there in the state actively campaigning, it won't matter how confident he is, he's going to lose. Second, if you've never worked on a campaign, you don't fully appreciate how precious and scarce a resource time is -- even a "few moments." Third, is this what it's going to be like if Obama is President? Will black folks who think he owes them the sun, the moon and the stars take offense to every slight, real and perceived, just because he doesn't respond favorably to all their requests? Get over yourself and stop trying to hold the man down. Let him do his job. Just because you don't have it like he does, don't hold him back. Tavis, are you listening? Barack Obama doesn't just belong to black people. He is running for the Presidency of ALL America, not just Black America.

Posted by: potomac_river | February 16, 2008 2:48 PM

For all his rhetoric, Sen. Obama has succesfully divided America. You are a fool or naive if you believe that there is no racism in this nomination. The Obama campaign with the help of media cleverly manipulated this to gain the overwhelming support of the black people. They even attributed the blame to the Clintons. How can you explain the reason why Sen. Obama is getting 80% of the the black voters if not for this? By getting less than 20% of the black voters, you would think that Sen. Clinton is not acceptable to the majority of the black voters. But this is not the case. The Clintons are also loved by these constituency. The only reason is because she is running against a black man. If these black voters are voting en masse for Sen. Obama, you can be sure that other races will do the same. This is the sad story in this campaign.

Posted by: tim591 | February 16, 2008 2:46 PM

Well, a couple of the posters have picked up on the obvious problem with Hillary going (if she is actually going-- I have my doubts) and Obama not showing up. It can be read as an attempt to avoid reminding people that he is black. Some here seem to think that that is perfectly fine. From a purely calculating perspective, they may be right. The analysis about Hillary doesn't wash. The remaining primaries are not going to be decided by blacks, who will be voting for Obama, anyway. Her time would be better spent trying to fend off his momentum in those predominantly white/hispanic states.

Posted by: darin_tuggle | February 16, 2008 2:39 PM

Just so you know Hillary Clinton has repeatedly left states with high black populations in order to campaign in states with high Latino populations. Because the Latinos are voting for her. She has left the BLACK states to Bill Clinton because he is more popular with black people. If you were paying attention you would know this. I on the other hand watch EVERYTHING and ALL candidates including the Republicans.

Posted by: sidmore-TM | February 16, 2008 2:38 PM

1st of all Tavis probably should check his monumnetal ego, but some of you on this blog should check yourselves too. To say that Barak is a coward is mean and totally unfounded. To say tht Barak shys away from tough issues is again pretty harsh and quite unfair. Barak Obama is in the fight of his life to capture the White House against a formidable opponent and I would prefer to see him connecting with all voters instead of rehashing the plight of black america with the likes of Tavis Smiley. Let's focus on what's important and its making a change for a better America not Tavis and his ego.

Posted by: acbetter | February 16, 2008 2:35 PM

Several commenters charge Obama with being afraid or a coward. I can't believe anyone would call Obama a coward. I think he is incredibly brave to put himself out there as a presidential candidate. I've been a big supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton since 1992 and still think highly of them, but I believe Obama offers the best chance for America to get over sleazy politics and talk about real solutions to very real problems brought on by 7 disastrous years of the Bush administration. Let's pull together for the good of our country and for our own basic needs.

Posted by: don6 | February 16, 2008 2:34 PM

I always thought Tavis was an egomaniac and now he's proved it. The wrath is justified--indeed. His focus is not on the big picture, but himself. His rebuff of Michelle Obama is equally appalling and sexist.
Barack Obama is correct in keeping his eye on the ball (campaigning), not on Tavis' world. I personally will never support Mr. Smiey again...period.

Posted by: josnead | February 16, 2008 2:30 PM

I understand Tavis Smiley's position; he supports Obama, but he would prefer to have him at that event to promote what's considered the "black agenda", to those outside the race. I think it's counterproductive in part, because it drags Obama back, in a sense - because it makes him seem less about change and more about change for just blacks. We're trying to have Obama not be the "black" candidate, but a good candidate that happens to be black, who cares about issues affectiung all Americans, including blacks.

Sure, Obama needs his time to be dedicated to states like OH, PA, and TX, but at the same time, it would probably hurt him right now doubly to take time from them and to go to that event, which might pigeonhole him as the black candidate concerned only with blacks. Hillary's going, true, but you see she's only doing that because she feels like she's not getting enough blacks voting for her, whereas Obama, he's very busy, and wanted to send, Michelle, his wife (very knowledgeable about his issues, delightful, and a great speaker, in her own right), to be his delegate, and Smiley declined. He's done Smiley's Show on PBS, before... I don't know why he would decline Michelle to speak at the SOBU... I'd think that anyone at the head of his campaign would be welcomed to speak. This is where the talk of ego comes in - does it have to be Barack speaking? The ratings would jump if Michelle were there, too, Tavis.

Posted by: fbutler1 | February 16, 2008 2:27 PM

Tavis is a big time Hillary supporter and I have no doubt about it. If you watch his show most of the people he brings on are Hillary supporters promoting her candidacy. There's nothing wrong with him supporting Hillary, but him trying to pretend as if he's some kind of fair objector is just a joke. I used to respect the man but I'm starting to loose that respect.

Posted by: lumi21us | February 16, 2008 2:23 PM

I wonder what the reaction of the black community would have been had Hillary Clinton turned down the offer to speak at the 'State of the Black Union', offering the explanation that she needed to campaign and suggesting that Bill Clinton speak in her stead.

Which version of the 'race' card game would the black community choose to offer us?

Posted by: jamesls | February 16, 2008 2:21 PM

Let's face reality, Travis is looking to move up the packing order. If he could embarrass Obama to appear so he (Travis) can look good, he will do it. As for Hillary, she will try anything to get more votes.. If she was ahead, I bet she would not appear. The country's direction is more important than the "Smiley dog and pony show".

Posted by: mikecq | February 16, 2008 2:20 PM

All these talk radio and commentators thought they had a larger role in politics. Republicans did not care about the Limbaugh and types calls not to vote for McCain.
Democrats do not give a rat about Obama not accepting this third class dude's invite. You really want him to get off the campaign trail and go give a talk in Louisiana having already won there? There was a shooting in his home state. You want him to go too?
Do you really want him to go that event and be associated with God knows what will be said there. You never know when you have the Sharpton and the likes, all of whom by the way did not support him until after Iowa. If you really think this campaign is about people like you, you are about to be awaken. It will be RUDE!

Posted by: al_164_1999 | February 16, 2008 2:17 PM

I would take issue with the post's title.

"Black Commenter, Criticizing Obama, Causes Firestorm"
Never mind "Firestorm" is needlessly overwrought, the verb "causes" is wrong.

It should be:

"Black Commenter, Criticizing Obama, Draws Firestorm"
or
"Black Commenter's Criticisms of Obama Subject of Firestorm"

Posted by: zukermand | February 16, 2008 2:13 PM

There's never been any doubt that Tavis Smiley is an arrogant joke -- his pathetic career trajectory proves that. But it is kind of amazing to see how puffed up that guy has become. The only dumber person on TV is Donna Brazil.

Posted by: jeff9741 | February 16, 2008 2:05 PM

Is it true that Hillary is going to be there? With her campaign in the state that it's in? If not for this fact, I would say that Obama's decision was clearly the right move. But the Hillary will be there factor is a major wrinkle in the story. Hopefully, she'll pull out. If not, mmm....

Posted by: darin_tuggle | February 16, 2008 2:04 PM

I don't blame Obama for not accepting Tavis' invitation. Tavis has a huge ego that needs to be checked. Tavis thinks he is bigger than he really is. He is nothing but a third class journalist. Get a grisp.

Posted by: HoaLu | February 16, 2008 2:02 PM

I am a black man but Smiley who? I am just hearing about this man as power broker in the black community. Well, let me say to the egotistic brother, you are no Barack Obama or will not be one even in the next lifetime. So Chill, Smiley!!

Posted by: dyohannes | February 16, 2008 2:01 PM

Tavis' report of death threats and blog comments have one thing in common. They are anonymous.

Anonymous comments could well be posted by bored teens, bored Republicans or bored conservatives.

Posted by: falasifa | February 16, 2008 2:00 PM

If Tavis had wanted to be relevant and have a legitimate beef at any candidate for not accepting his invitation, why didn't he
(1) schedule the event in Louisiana for the Friday before the primary there (right after Super Tuesday), or
(2) schedule the event in another state with an eye to the primary schedule in February (Virginia or Maryland would have done nicely), or
(3) invite any of the Republican candidates? Huckabee and McCain would surely have considered seriously attending if invited.

Since he did none of these things, and yet expects presidential candidates to accept or face his wrath, it seems he has no legitimate basis for criticizing candidates who find that campaigning elsewhere is a more reasonable alternative to appearing at his event, important and symbolic as it may be.

Posted by: dhbecker | February 16, 2008 1:59 PM

OH MY GOD ! What is happening here? It seems the UNITED STATES are becoming UN-UNITED,on the basis of Race.
I hope to God that a campaign among "White Folks" does not emerge,encouraging them to support the White candidate,because "She could better understand "White needs".
But this is what I am hearing in regard to the Black Candidate.
Am I understanding the situation correctly?
It seems a Black Guy is receiving flack for critisizing a Black Guy.
I do not believe it is to the point to suggest that Michelle Obama could have spoken at the event,anymore than it would have been appropriate for Bill Clinton to speak.IT WAS AN INVITATION TO THE CANDIDATES,FOR GOD'S SAKE,NOT THEIR SPOUSES.
Travis may well have been out of line in critisizing Barack,but no need for a burning at the stake.
Hey everyone,please cool it,because the last thing we need is a White Backlash.
We all did pretty with Clinton the 1st,and I reckon we could do pretty well with Clinton the 2nd.

Posted by: useyourbrain1 | February 16, 2008 1:58 PM

Well, it does seem a little calculated for Obama to refuse to come. Yes, he has already won in LA, yes, he has undecideds elsewhere to court, but it IS Black History month and this is an event that will get national, or at least regional, coverage. Texas is nearby. Maybe he is afraid of appearing "too black?" He should get another black man to be his surrogate. Like James Lewis, New Mexico State Treasurer and an Obama supporter. Mr. Lewis is both a handsome African-American and a dynamic speaker.

Posted by: dotellen | February 16, 2008 1:53 PM

Tavis is a small, petty person. The fact that Senator Obama has been so gracious to you given your nasty backstabbing speaks volumes about his character. Though he has refused to attend the State of the Black Union, he has been on your PBS show repeatedly. Obama gave you a great gift, he sent his QUEEN to your event in his place. Yet, you threw it back as if Ms. Michelle Obama were nothing. If you were lucky enough to have a wife, you would know what an insult it is to do something so shameful. Because of that, Sen. Obama will probably NEVER attend your event. You are not fit to shine his shoes. Understand, he is not running to be President of the United States of BLACK America. He know like anyone else with common sense he cannot get to the highest office in the land by playing to black people only. I hate forums like yours because it has become a platform for displaying black pathology. Not all black people are poor, single mothers, convicts, or drug abusers. There are black families all over America like the Obamas; it is not because they were USUALLY BLESSED OR LUCKY. It is because given their circumstances, they made the correct choices for their lives. They studied in school, went to college (struggling in many cases), didn't have babies outside of marriage, stayed on the right side of the law, and married people with the same life goals. It is not rocket science, but it will be people like you who continue to do a disservice to the black people who need Sen. Obama's life as an example to follow. The fact that you have been ostracized from the black community make me hopeful for our future; it says that black people are ready to move past the pathology and step into our destiny.


Posted by: sidmore-TM | February 16, 2008 1:48 PM

I am ashsmed and disheartened with black america. I feel where tavis is coming from. I am a 50 year old africa-american female. There is nothing wrong with tavis inviting the 'THREE PRESIDENTIAL" hopefuls to the event. barak should have showed up if the other two didn't no matter what. without excuse. He's confident in his ability to win texas. SURELY, he could have taken a small amount of his understandably busy schedule to accommodate the event. Barak has proven that he want to cherry pick the settings he finds himself in. particularly as the settings relate to african americans. he is afraid of the issues he may have to deal with and his answers, or lack of, may make him less-appealing to black supporters or caucasina supporters depending on questions he has to answer.
I support you tavis. black america has turned their backs on the clintons. It is disgraceful and hypocritical. The clintons stood with us long before we knew of barak. and for issues that mattered to us and that were unique to us. this is not barak bashing. i love the brother. i love black people. i just think that our decisions should be "INFORMED DECISIONS" and not just emotional ones. We should always do our homework on candidates regardless of race and/or gender. Experience has always been something that we as blacks had to exhibit. We had to have it in order to get the job. Even when we demonstrated it, we may or may not have gotten it. this is what was done to us. This is what makes us such hypocrits. We have forgotten where we came from. We have forgotten what matters. we are doing what has been done to us. where are our morals?
i love you tavis. you have done nothing wrong. i know you love barak and you love black people and you identify with us. it's not you. it's the hypocrits who have not demonstrated an ability to make "an INFORMED DECISION". instead, they have made a decision on "EMOTION." i thought we had gotten passed that when jessie jackson and al sharpton proved that a black man can make a credible and viable run for the white house. they were well-versed on the issues and did not cherry-pick their settings because they were not afraid that they might lose caucasian and/or black voters if they didn't say what he felt they may have wanted him to say.
SHAME ON US BLACK AMERICA!

Posted by: ctrs1100 | February 16, 2008 1:44 PM

To: Tavis Smiley. I am ashamed of you in this instance. I consider you a very cerebral, analytical,and savvy journalist, an above average commentator. Critical comments by you about Senator Obama is perhaps the DUMBEST things you have ever done! The brother did not deserve the comments. Are you in the same boat with Representative Charles Rangle. This is an historic moment in time. This is the BEST shot, ever, for a man of color to run for the presidency. Can we get your support and that of your admirers? GIVE IT UP FOR THE BROTHER! He offered his wife as a speaker. You refused. PLEASE! PEACE! Fred Williams, Florida

Posted by: fredw955 | February 16, 2008 1:41 PM

Michelle Obama isn't running for president and won't be effecting policy. Get a clue. Obama cowars to tough questions.

Posted by: sjl106 | February 16, 2008 1:32 PM

Smiley's passing on a phenomenal opportunity to have Michelle Obama speak. She's a tremendous advocate for her husband. Moreover, her personal story is as powerful as Obama's. Perhaps Smiley is protecting Sen. Clinton as Michelle Obama is at least - I'd argue more - accomplished than Clinton, and did it all on her own. No riding her husband's coattails...

Posted by: GordonsGirl | February 16, 2008 1:21 PM

Now you know how it is when you find yourself thinking differently from "the movement"! Death threats, insults, harassment of you and your family. Shame. It is freaky and irrational. Moreover, there is something even worst hidden in all this. The only reason Tavis is called a traitor (how rrational is that!?) or egoist is because he likes to think with his own head and not on the basis of the color of his skin. That is called racism. One prominent scholar has argued that racism is so pervasive that it structures every bit of our lives, the way we think and the way we exists. Consequently no matter what we do, even if we decide to fight it, we are likely to end up reinforcing. I always wondered whether his grim pessimistic argument was an overstatement. This example shows me that he is probably right. I wish Mr. Obama could also "straighten out" his movement worshipers, not Tavis.

Posted by: sego | February 16, 2008 1:01 PM

Tavis, Tavis, tsk, tsk! You are being barbequed on the blogs, but you got the firewood, you dug the pit, and you showed up with North Carolina-based sauce in hand and said, "Where the meat?" You dug yourself into this one. Have fun on the grill (hope it's not a slow one for you).

Posted by: meldupree | February 16, 2008 12:59 PM

Obamabites as usual attack, attack, as usual they try and destroy anyone who disagrees with them, and try to cover up for obama being a coward in answering tough questions, he know longer gets to hide behind 8 people on the debates, he can't allow an up close and personal look into his inability of knowing the issues and responding to tough questions with knowledge and solutions. Obama is a coward and many in the black community have followed blindly, its a shame, they should want to know that he has what it takes, not that the color of his skin is most important. Look at what obama is doing to the CBC members supporting Hillary.

http://www.taylormarsh.com/archives_view.php?id=27027

Alicia Keys tribute to Hillary

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cySK6q2P_Nw

Posted by: sjl106 | February 16, 2008 12:58 PM

To ajtiger92:
You wrote:
Obama is behind Hillary in Ohio and Texas polling. Tavis has a big ego and thinks of himself as the "Voice of Black America".
---------------------------------------
Just remember that we are always told on TV and by the Obama campaign that all Obama has to do is show up at his big rallies and everyone swoons and runs from the Hillary bandwagon immediately. All you need to be informed is to see him give his big inspirational speech and you are a convert. So in all reality, is one night too much to ask to have him discuss the "Black Community" since he is depending on them so much? Besides, Texas is a state that allows open voting so I am sure that all the republicans will be out there rooting for Obama over Hillary anyway. But it's okay to talk about your candidate being in a hard faught battle. I just wonder how hard faught when the media is doing all the heavy lifting for you against the Hillary campaign?

Posted by: justmyvoice | February 16, 2008 12:51 PM

Tavis Smiley is in the media business. In a sense, he is self employed. He hosts a talk show, writes books and comments on a variety of topics as a media personality. He is not a politician. His annual State of the Black Union event is a political/social gathering, where he can network/schmooze with potential guests for his show. He also has a big mouth and it got him in trouble this time. He needs to be quiet now and let Barack do what he has to do to get elected. And another thing, who could turn down Michelle? If I were Tavis's momma, I'd say, "Shame on you!"

Posted by: compuart | February 16, 2008 12:45 PM

Well death threats, if that's true, are just rediculous and wrong - some people may be getting carried away with their political passions.

That said, Mr. Smiley suggesting that because Mr. Obama will only send his wife to his meeting during the heat of a tight Pres campaign, therefore Obama doesn't care about blacks, well that is kind of a rediculous to say.

Posted by: b_wythoff | February 16, 2008 12:43 PM

While the overwhelming majority of the media seems to have gotten the memo, poor Mr. Smiley apparently didn't check his inbox: Dare to criticize Obama, and you can expect jihad to follow.

Not unlike Muslims in Denmark who rioted over a cartoon, Obama's crazy cult followers will countenance not even the tiniest amount of criticism when it comes to their messiah - with an emphasis on NONE.

Posted by: gmeierhoff | February 16, 2008 12:39 PM

I disagree with justmyvoice...Obama is in the mist of a fierce presidential campaign against the Clinton machine. Tavis's invitation went out to John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Obama is behind Hillary in Ohio and Texas polling. Tavis has a big ego and thinks of himself as the "Voice of Black America". I've seen his programs and they are okay at best. If Tavis really wanted to draw attention to his 'State of Black Union' event, he should have held it before Louisiana's primary. Maybe Tavis wants to be the voice of black America, but Obama wants to be the voice of the United States of America!

Tavis needs a wife, especially him being over 40! {LMAO}

Posted by: ajtiger92 | February 16, 2008 12:26 PM

Unfortunately,this presidential race has become one of more "race" than it should have been. Superdelegates, who happen to be black are being pressured to switch to Obama, and now a black commenter getting hate mail and threats because he is not supporting Obama as others feel he should because of his "race". And the offer of Michelle Obama to speak is not what was requested or agreed to. The offer was to the two Presidential candidates. If Hillary appears and Obama does not, then people have to live with that and not expect that he can send even his wife to take his place. It appears more and more that this presidential campaign is showing its ugly side in that if you are black you must either support Obama or be targeted. If this is the change and new tone that they are planning on giving to America, then I am beginning to question exactly what it is or whether people really want it under these circumstances.

Posted by: justmyvoice | February 16, 2008 12:12 PM

Commenters here notwithstanding, I like to think most people are not the caricatures Mr Fears writes about.

Posted by: zukermand | February 16, 2008 12:03 PM

Tavis needs to check his ego. Obama wrote him a letter and offered his wife, who is an accomplished speaker, and Tavis declined. As a female, I am insulted. Tavis will have Hillary there but he refused Michelle Obama. Barack Obama is out working the trail in states he is behind in. So tavis what is up with refusing Michelle Obama???

Posted by: Sis_O | February 16, 2008 11:49 AM

Barack Obama's campaign must come first. Hate mail is reprehensible, but Smiley's ego started most of it. If he really cares about the future for all races instead of his puffing ego, he'd shut up. Maybe he'd better go see Bill Clinton. Two blowhards in a state of denial.

Posted by: NoMugwump | February 16, 2008 11:35 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2009 The Washington Post Company