The Obama campaign responded Tuesday night to a 2007 video of then-Senator Obama that conservatives believe reveals a racially-charged side of the candidate that most voters aren’t aware of.
In the video, which was taken at a campaign rally at Hampton University in Virginia, a historically black school, Obama accuses the Bush administration of using race to discriminate against Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. Obama argues in the video that the administration unfairly refused to waive the Stafford Act, which requires state and local governments to match up to ten percent of the disaster relief funding they receive from the federal government.
By comparison, Obama says, Washington waived the requirement for New York City when it was attacked on 9/11, and for areas in Florida and the Gulf Coast that were victimized by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
The Daily Caller, which posted the entire 40-minute video of the rally on its website, argues that although the press covered the speech, reporters failed to cover Obama’s remarks about race, which the conservative publication says were not included in the transcript of the speech that was put out by the campaign. Daily Caller Founder Tucker Carlson appeared on the Fox News Channel Tuesday night to discuss the video, which he described as never-before-seen footage of the president using racially-charged language to influence African-American voters to support him.
(Click here to watch the video)
Carlson reported that at the time of Obama’s speech, the Bush administration had already committed $110 billion toward relief efforts in New Orleans.
In the video, Obama also praises his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who became famous in the 2008 campaign for making a series of controversial remarks that were widely reported on. The negative attention garnered by Wright eventually forced Obama to disassociate himself from his pastor, and clarify his views on race relations in a highly watched speech in Philadelphia just months before the election against Republican candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
In response to the conservative outcry over the video, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt accused media outlets sympathetic to GOP nominee Mitt Romney of attempting to distract voters in the lead-up to the November 6 election.
“In a transparent attempt to change the subject from his comments attacking half of the American people, Mitt Romney’s allies recirculated video of a 2007 event that was open to and extensively covered by the press at the time,” LaBolt said. “The only thing shocking about this is that they apparently think it’s wrong to suggest that we should help returning veterans, children leaving foster care and other members of Mitt Romney’s 47 percent get training that will allow them to find the best available jobs.”
It’s likely that the campaign will be asked again today to weigh in on the video. We’ll update this article if and when that happens.