David Shuster surely knows better. Wherever you come down on the issue of who's playing the race card, one thing is glaringly, blindingly, incandescently obvious: when Barack Obama says McCain will point out Obama doesn't look like the other guys on the currency, the Dem candidate is doing much more than making the innocuous point that he is the first black major-party presidential nominee. Yet that is precisely how Shuster chose to misinterpret Obama's remark on today's "Morning Joe." Fortunately, Tiki Barber was there to run to daylight through the gaping hole in Shuster's line of logic.
The show began with a clip of Obama intoning his stock line that Bush and McCain will try to "make you scared of me" by pointing out, among other things, "he dudn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills. You know?"
View video here.
Permit me a momentary digression. "Dudn't"? Does anyone think Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii, or learned at Harvard, to say "dudn't," or is this the Obaman equivalent of John Kerry's "can I git me a huntin' license here?"
A bit later, Joe Scarborough read a similar line Obama had used in June: "they're going to try to make you afraid of me. 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?" That explicit invocation of his race puts the lie to the risible assertion by Obama communication director Robert "Baghdad Bob" Gibbs yesterday that with his currency claim, Dollar Bill Obama wasn't talking about race but alluding to the fact he's a fresh face in Washington.
That's when Shuster got off his laugh line:
DAVID SHUSTER: This is what I don't understand. What's wrong with [Obama] pointing out that he's the first major African-American candidate in US history? I mean, what's wrong with that?
Mika did her best for David.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: And he was self-deprecating!
TIKI BARBER: I don't think there's anything wrong with him pointing it out. I think what McCain's campaign is upset about is that Obama is saying they're using that against him. And they haven't done that yet.