If we're going to promote a candid discussion of race in our country, we can't jump down the throat of everyone who ventures onto the racial minefield.  Rather than finding offense in Roger Simon's suggestion that choosing Bobby Jindal as his VP running-mate would hurt John McCain among racist voters, I propose we simply analyze it.  Here's what Simon said on this evening's Hardball, as guest host Mike Barnicle led the Politico reporter and Newsweek's Howard Fineman through a tour d'horizon of possible VP picks.
MIKE BARNICLE: Interesting new Republican face, Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana.

ROGER SIMON: Interesting.  Young.  Very young, almost too young to run, not quite, he gets over the constitutional limit. But I gotta raise the delicate subject: if you're John McCain, and you know that you're going to get an 'x' percentage of votes based on race, do you pick a dark-skinned vice-presidential candidate, who some people are going to say–wrongly—is black, is a Hindu converted to Catholicism, who's an Indian-American? You know, none of that should matter in American politics, but is it a safe choice, or is it a choice that is going to get everybody chattering? I think McCain is going to go for a safer choice than that.
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Chris Matthews looked at Barack and Michelle last night, and saw Jack and Jacqueline. Opening this evening's Hardball, the host was almost overcome by emotion in describing the scene of Obama's victory speech last night in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Here was Chris, discussing the matter with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, Roger Simon of Politico, and Ed Gordon of BET.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's dwell for one moment at least on the man who won last night. I swear. I had no idea this would ever happen in America. I don't know if it will ever happen again. This is a trend, I don't know, this is an odd occurrence. But it was . . . spectacular.

. . .

Last night's magic moment for a lot of Americans. In fact, me included. I, that picture is right out of Camelot, as far as I'm concerned.

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On Wednesday night's "Hardball," Chris Matthews thought he saw racism in two ads targeted against Barack Obama, but when his media panel full of liberal journalists disagreed he back-pedaled a bit.

First up Matthews ran a clip of what he called a "nasty," ad by the North Carolina Republican Party. The Politico's Roger Simon agreed with Matthews that it was "nasty" but said, he wasn’t sure it was "unfair."

Then Matthews ran an ad hitting Obama for opposing the death penalty in Chicago for gang members and claimed:

"It's a giant permission slip to somebody who doesn't want to vote for him to begin with. And it’s also a permission slip for the Republican Party to use him as a target throughout the general election."

However Simon disagreed with Matthews’ implication that it had a racial tinge as he pointed out:

Hardball had some fun this evening at Hillary's expense over the mystery of The Sniper Who Didn't Fire. Credit Politico's Roger Simon with the most devastating remark.

Hillary's heroic claim has been that "we used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady." Simon said what in retrospect might be obvious but something I hadn't previously heard anyone else observe.
ROGER SIMON: She says I was there because it was too dangerous for the President. It was too dangerous--so he sent his wife and only child? It makes no sense.

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Roger Simon, chief political columnist for The Politico and former White House correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and political editor of U.S. News & World Report, acknowledged on Sunday's Face the Nation that Barack Obama won over “his base,” which he identified as “the American media,” in his Tuesday speech in reaction to Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-American rants:
Obama really won over his base, he won over the American media. They loved that speech.
Indeed, over on This Week's roundtable, ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman trumpeted: “He gave a great speech, I think it was a brave speech.”

Fill-in Face the Nation host Chip Reid followed up Simon's observation by fretting about what Republicans, who managed to “swift boat John Kerry” when “many people believed [he] was a war hero,” might “do with what Reverend Wright said in the fall?”

On Sunday’s "Face the Nation," host Bob Schieffer talked to Roger Simon from The Politico about the Republican race and Simon exclaimed that "The old Ronald Reagan coalition of fiscal conservatives, foreign policy conservatives, and social conservatives has shattered." Simon also observed that, "McCain is on his way to proving that he is the least unacceptable Republican...And that even though certain factions of the party may have difficulty with McCain-Feingold or his stand on immigration, he is the most electable Republican in November."

On the topic of McCain’s immigration stance, Schieffer pointed out, "You know, something a lot of people forget that McCain's immigration policy actually plays well in Florida." Simon agreed:

I think that's very important for McCain in Florida. Florida has a large number of Cuban-Americans who vote in Republican primaries. And even though Cubans are not affected by comprehensive immigration reform they have a separate law covering them, they are sympathetic to other Latinos facing the problem of earning their way to citizenship and coming to this country. And they don't view what John McCain did in trying to pass comprehensive immigration reform as selling out the Republican Party. They see it as courageous and John McCain is going to get some benefit from that, I believe.

Credit Chuck Todd for candor. The NBC News Political Director has acknowledged that the media is poised to take a third-place finish by John McCain in Iowa, declare him the winner and catapult the Arizona senator to victory in New Hampshire. Todd appeared with the Politico's Roger Simon on this afternoon's Hardball.

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Check out these opening paragraphs, and guess who's being described.
Looking into [his] eyes is like falling into a swimming pool.

His eyes are deep and blue and comforting and, as person after person will tell you, when his eyes lock onto yours, you feel like you are the only other person in the world.

Margarida Perreira, 48 . . . can stand it no longer.

“Can I give you a kiss?” she asks him.