David Gergen Explains Racial Signals in McCain Ads


McCain might not have any substance to his campaign and many of his negative attacks may backfire, but he did do an excellent job of using misdirection to convince many that he was not using race when he brought race into the campaign. Many have been fooled by the method in which McCain has accomplished this. As Obama said, “If you think about this week, what they’ve been good at is distraction” and that McCain transformed general comments about his unusual biography into a “racially incendiary remark.”

The above video from Talking Points Memo shows a clip of David Gergen on This Week explaining the racist overtones to some of McCain’s recent ads. As George Stephanopoulos stated, much of this is below the radar screen.

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  1. 1
    Jerry says:

    Good, but Gergen missed the biggest one.  Showing Obama mixed together with two white (arguably promiscuous white women) sends the same message they sent to sink the candidacy of Harold Ford.  Remember the “Call me!” ad?  Here’s a link: http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/200601024_harold_ford_ad/

  2. 2
    David Drissel says:

    I know exactly what Gergen is talking about here.  I’m from the South originally and I recognize the racial code words of McCain and his supporters.  McCain’s campaign is basically employing the “uppity Negro” strategy in disrespecting Obama.  McCain often refers to Obama as if he hasn’t yet “earned” the right to run for President.  The depiction in the ad of Obama as a mere “celebrity” playing basketball was akin to saying that Obama would rather spend his time playing a stereotypical “black sport” than fulfill his “patriotic” duties by visiting wounded troops.  Of course, this assertion was dishonest, since Obama was actually shooting hoops with U.S. troops present.  Many of McCain’s supporters have used the phrase “he’s not one of us,” which clearly has racial and xenophobic inferences.  McCain’s constant questioning of Obama’s patriotism reinforces such a race-baiting, exclusionary approach.

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