CNN contributor Roland Martin, a known Barack Obama sympathizer, surprisingly isn’t buying the argument that conservatives/Republicans are behind the rumored Michelle Obama "whitey" comment. During a segment on Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," substitute anchor Campbell Brown asked Martin, "Republicans have made it clear, pretty much, that Michelle is fair game here. Are you surprised by the intensity of the attacks?" He replied, "I'm not surprised by it, but I think, also, we can't blame Republicans for everything. It's these idiot Democrats that started some of this stuff."
When Brown asked what he meant by that, Martin dropped the names of two Hillary Clinton supporters: "[Y]ou had Larry Johnson, a Clinton supporter, who put this whole rumor out of this so-called tape where she used ‘whitey.’ It doesn't even exist. And then you had Bob Beckel, Democratic strategist, who goes on Fox, and he floats the rumor as well. Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot. They can't put this one on conservatives. They started that particular one."
Martin’s approach to the "whitey" rumor contrasts with that of the New York Times, who blamed "conservative blogs" for spreading the rumor, as fellow NewsBuster Clay Waters pointed out earlier.
After Martin gave his take, Brown turned to CNN chief national correspondent John King, who actually defended the concept that Michelle Obama is a legitimate target in the presidential campaign.
JOHN KING: ...There's a difference between rumor, innuendo, and smears...
MARTIN: That's right.
KING: ...by saying there's a tape. When someone says there is such a tape, we should say, where is it? Prove it. And if we can't prove it, I'm not even sure why we're talking about it on television. In the old days, we wouldn't do that. In the age of the Internet, we've decided, well, it's out there; I guess we can talk about that. I don't think that's a wise approach. But that's a very different thing that her saying, ‘For the first time in my life, I'm proud of my country.’ That is fair game. She wants to be First Lady of the United States. Her husband acknowledges that she has significant influence over him. And, yes, Democrats are going to have to face attacks in which the Republicans say that the Obamas are left-of-center, both on policy and culturally, in America. If she says something in the public arena, that is fair game. What she says is very different from an unsubstantiated rumor.
The short Martin/King segment began 25 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360."