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Monday, January 28, 2008

Round 2: Clinton's Risky Gamble

If you read my post "The Black-Brown Divide" you were introduced to Sergio Bendixen, Hillary Clinton's pollster and resident Latino expert, who told the New Yorker after her win in New Hampshire that "the Hispanic voter--and I want to say this very carefully--has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates," he started a firestorm of innuendo that has begun to shape how the media are covering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in the heavily Hispanic Western states.
This is dangerous politics...would you agree?
Novak's " Clinton's Risky Gamble" put this tactic into context.

Clinton's Risky Gamble

By Robert D. Novak

In California, the Latino vote is notoriously undependable in actual voting, especially when compared with African American turnout. How the Clinton campaign deals with Hispanic voters is a sensitive matter, and sensitivity has never been a hallmark of the Clinton style.

Insensitivity was reflected in a recent issue of the New Yorker, when Clinton's veteran Latino political operative Sergio Bendixen was quoted as saying, "The Hispanic voter -- and I want to say this very carefully -- has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."

.....That brief quote from an obscure politician has generated shock and awe in Democratic circles. It comes close to validating the concern that the Clinton campaign is not only relying on a brown firewall built on an anti-black base but is reinforcing it. A prominent Democrat who has not picked a candidate this year told me, "In any campaign I have been involved in, Bendixen would have been gone."

But not in Clinton's campaign. At the Jan. 15 debate, before the Nevada caucuses, where the Latino vote was important, NBC's Tim Russert read the Bendixen quote and asked Clinton, "Does that represent the view of your campaign?" Her response was chilling: "No, he was making a historical statement."

Asked whether Latinos will refuse to vote for him, Obama got a laugh when he replied: "Not in Illinois. They all voted for me.".........

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