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The Barack backlash: How Obama’s presidency has gone from deity to doubtful

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Max Hastings
UK Daily Mail
Sunday, August 2, 2009

On Thursday night, the most powerful man on earth spent 55 minutes of his priceless time simply sharing a beer with a police officer from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Harvard professor.

This minutely orchestrated media event was designed to rescue Barack Obama from the most idiotic, yet nonetheless damaging, row of his presidency.

The American people are convulsed, not with laughter, because the story touches the obsessive issue of racism.

It began a fortnight ago, when Professor Louis Gates locked himself out of his own house and set about breaking in.

A neighbour phoned police, reporting a suspected burglary. A police car arrived and an officer quizzed Gates. After an angry altercation, though the house owner proved his identity, he was arrested.

Louis Gates is black. He accused the cop, who is white, of racism. The story made all the newspapers.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

At a regular White House press conference last week, almost all the exchanges were about healthcare reform, until a reporter slipped in a final question about Gates.

Obama joked that he wondered what would happen if he tried to break into the White House. ‘I guess this is my home now, so it wouldn’t happen.’ But at his old place back in Chicago: ‘I’d get shot.’

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This article was posted: Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 5:13 am

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