The vision of the first black president speaking before the NAACP clearly mesmerized liberal reporters. But their ardor began to sound racially touchy when they suggested Obama has more "credibility" than pale presidents. On Thursday Night’s Anderson Cooper 360, Cooper oozed over the president: "He had a lot more to say in a way that no other president has ever been able to before." But the message itself hardly seemed any different than what President Bush would say, as Cooper summarized it: "tremendous advances have been made in race relations in America, but there's still a lot of work to do."
Cooper passed the baton to CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux, who sounded the same touchy note: "When we saw President Bush go before this group in 2006, a lot of tension, he ignored this group for five years or so. But his message was similar. He talked about the need for accountability, responsibility. He did not have the same kind of credibility that President Obama does."
Turn that around. Can you imagine anyone at CNN suggesting last year that Hillary Clinton or John McCain had "more credibility" with white audiences than Obama because of their skin color?
Malveaux left out that perhaps Bush didn't appear at an NAACP convention for years because they viciously accused him of murdering James Byrd all over again in a very nasty campaign ad in the last weeks of the 2000 campaign.
Malveaux sounded like a White House aide in describing the address. She didn’t say he dropped g’s and employed black slang like "ballers" for basketball players and described the "flow" of rappers. Some might think he's putting on this speaking style like a suit of clothes. But Malveaux lauded his loose style and energy as a return to their leg thrills on the campaign trail:
You know, Anderson, we saw that different kind of Obama -- you had mentioned that before -- the cadence, the rhythm, the style, the -- the energy from this president that we saw in the campaign for two years, but, essentially, really kind of turned the corner in that tone when he became the president, that things were a lot more serious.
But he has a familiarity with this audience. A couple of things that he wanted to do. First and foremost is acknowledge that yes, discrimination still exists. That a lot of people have tough times. But that most African Americans have it tougher, have it worse.
Having said that, he wanted to put that into context and say, look, you have control over your future. It is time for accountability and responsibility. He does this because he feels that he has the familiarity, but he also has the credibility to deliver this kind of message more so than you had with President Bush before. for five years or so. But his message was similar. He talked about the need for accountability, responsibility. He did not have the same kind of credibility that President Obama does.
Malveaux has been clear before about her low opinion of George Bush’s credibility. From December 8, 2006: "Critics calling Mr. Bush ‘the cowboy’ for stubbornly leading the charge, and Mr. Blair ‘the poodle’ for obediently following. But three years since the U.S. invasion, the two are still adamant their Iraq mission is sound. President Bush didn’t just drink the Kool-Aid, he made it. But perhaps now it’s a little less sweet."