Obama's Non-Bombshell Video: A Silly October Surprise

His voice is different, and Rev. Wright is there. But otherwise, who cares?

If you were still under the illusion that President Obama is completely different from every other politician, prepare to have your world shattered: A conservative website has dug up footage of the president talking differently to a mostly black audience than he does to mostly white ones.

Despite the Daily Caller's suggestion that the video is some kind of great find, it isn't: It's from 2007, when Obama was very much running for president. And the many reporters who covered it at the time included — as CNN hilariously noted — Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson.

Also read: Tucker Carlson Covered 'Exclusive' Obama 'Bombshell' for MSNBC — 5 Years Ago

Watch the video:

Commentators on Fox News, where the video was unveiled Tuesday, said Obama seemed to stoke racial tensions in the speech, delivered to black clergy at historically black Hampton University. In it, he derides the Bush Administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina — not exactly an extremist viewpoint. He also calls for the federal government to waive local matching requirements for federal aid, as it did in other national emergencies. Again, not a wildly controversial position.

What stood out for conservatives was Obama's language: He said there were "quiet riots" when young African-Americans felt abandoned by their government, and that the Bush Administration "was colorblind in its incompetence."

"Riot" is a scary word made less scary by the fact that, as the word "quiet" indicates, there weren't any. And as the word "colorblind" suggests, Obama was calling the administration inept, not racist.

For much of Tuesday afternoon, the Drudge Report ran teases about the Daily Caller's plans to unveil the supposedly shocking video on Fox News' "Hannity" — just ahead of tonight's first debate between Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

But when it emerged, it was more amusing than shocking. Then-Sen. Obama does sound noticably different, especially in his pronounciation of the word "dollah." He sounds like he's trying to win over an audience of black preachers, which of course he was.

But what does that prove?

Perhaps he's nakedly manipulative. Maybe he was playing up his folksiness. Or maybe he's toning it down now. Or — imagine — he became a more cautious speaker when he became the leader of the free world. 

Politicians often talk to different audiences differently. Romney, who sounds stiff everywhere he goes, is the rare exception.

Both Clintons sound folksier in the South than they do on nightly news interviews. Steve Forbes, Ralph Nader, Christie Todd Whitman and Pat Buchanan attempted slangly PSAs on "Da Ali G Show." And debate footage that emerged during George W. Bush's presidency found that he sounded arguably more eloquent when running for governor of Texas than he did as president.

The video also featured Obama giving a "shout out" to his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and praising him. Not much of a big reveal there: In case anyone didn't know, Obama used to have a pastor who sometimes railed against the United States. Obama dropped him, hard, during the 2008 campaign. Then he won the election. If it didn't bother Americans enough to deny him office then, it's hard to imagine why they would care about it now.

  • StormRider

    Best “snake oil” salesman since Elmer Gantry.

  • Sonya A. Willis

    Wow, so you see nothing wrong with him changing his dialect when speaking to a predominantly black audience which itself is racist. You see nothing wrong with him out and out LYING about money for Katrina. Bush had already pledged $7 BILLION dollars two weeks prior and then sitting Senator Obama knew that. You see nothing wrong with the media covering up the full, race-baiting tape for the last five years.

    I wish I could be shocked but what do you expect out of liberal Hollywood.

    • tim.molloy

      With all due respect, when you say “covering up” do you mean “covering”? Even Tucker Carlson covered it, for MSNBC.


      • wriprodir

        “covering” with deliberate deletions to preserve the con…

    • Dianarosa

      You are right but it's not 7 billion is 11 billion. They said on the TV news.

    • Victoria

      No, I see nothing wrong with his changing his dialect. Lots of people subtly (or not so subtly) change the way they speak depending on the context. I think of it as a form of being bilingual. If the President were, say, Italian-American, would you criticize him for speaking Italian to people gathered at an Italian-American community event?

  • FilmPunk

    Here's the problem with the video. Shortly after this video he denied really knowing Rev. Wright. Obama, “He was unaware of Rev. Wright's extreme views that He [Obama] did not share.” Turns out he did know Wright and he does share his replacement theology view. It also turns out that he did know Bill Ayers but during the election he said he really didn't know the man. It goes to a pattern of deceit that permeates everything Obama says and does. He'll tell whoever he's with whatever they want to hear.

    • Dianarosa

      That's not true, Sorry! Then Senator Obama was going to the Church regulary for 20 years. He knew and his wife knew and their 2 daughters knew who Reverend Wright is. 20 years of same will sooner or later infiltrate in your heart and mine.

      • FilmPunk

        I think we're saying the same thing. My contention is Obama was not truthful when he tried to distance himself from Rev. Wright when running for President. Obama is not a very truthful person.

  • Bocobo

    Romney telling a group of supporters that 47% of the voters see themselves as victims – Bombshell story.
    Obama telling a group of supporters that they are victims of white racisim – Non-Bombshell story.
    The Wrap does a great job with entertainment reporting. Stick to that. We know your political views.

    • Laconicus

      Yeah, Mitt saying 47% of votes are bought with Dem handouts is a game changer, but Obama saying he wants welfare recipients to become a majority coalition is not newsworthy.

      • wriprodir

        The only initiative I see coming from the White House is a drive to expand the holdings of the Democrat VoteSlave Plantation… with a Straw-Boss-in-Chief.

  • Cavalryman

    Finally people are actually learning more about our Manchurian President and his telling past, than the media, and the Wrap included have ignored and washed out. Learn more about this guy and it will disturb even many dems. But what is odd is than no one even wants to read Obama's own book, especially the liberal media.

  • http://www.HallandaleBeachBlog.blogspot.com/ HallandaleBeachBlog

    Rather than browbeat you for the many mistakes, mis-statements and errors of omission of this column, I'll concentrate on just one: “Obama dropped him, hard, during the 2008 campaign.”
    Well, it was during the 2008 campaign, but the year he did it was in 2007, some time BEFORE the event that was videotaped and which this column is supposed to be about. Uh-oh! Here come some inconvenient facts!!

    Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but i suspect that most people would say that YOU as a candidate haven't successfully ‘distanced yourself from’ someone whom YOU yourself saw as a media distraction, when YOU publicly ask for a “shout out” for the very same person whom YOU decided that YOU didn't want involved at YOUR own presidential announcement in Springfield -with a microphone right in front of you.

    What many people with both common sense and at least a sliver of an expectation that the news media will at least “try” to appear to be even-handed resent, esp. now, is that this particular videotape is such a searing indictment of the purported fairness and integrity of the clearly co-opted national press corps that covered Obama at the time. Yes, the traveling media circus of superlatives! Obama isn't just super, they say he's the super-est! (Yes, like Chuck Norris and Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World.)

    The video shows how a cynical person like Obama knew he could both accomplish his goal at the meeting, and yet also continue to play the overwhelmingly White press corps for saps. He knew that because of his unique status, he could could continue to completely manipulate them because they were not only so clearly infatuated with him, but had actually become self-policing and mute in their criticism of him and his efforts, unwilling to show any side of him that conflicted with the portrait they had painted of him, where as they told us over-and-over again, he was whatever you wanted him to be.

    Well, it's just as true now as it was then that that was actually only because of the media's own lack of curiosity and effort, not mine.
    Almost as if they were afraid that if they found something, the whole house of cards would come crashing down upon them -and somebody would get blamed for ruining the chance of the country to have an African-American president.
    And it wasn't going to be them!

    Perhaps that explains why despite all the advances in technology, they just couldn't find his college grades, couldn't find anything he wrote at school, couldn't find anyone who was friends with him in college who could impart some useful context?

    To mix my metaphors, they'd collectively pressure anyone in their own midst who wanted to upset the apple cart and stop the gravy train by saying that the Emperor has no clothes. Just like they did a few months ago, when a reporter at The White House shouted-out a question to Obama after he hadn't had an actual press conference in many months.

    So, what, reporter behavior that had become routine there for well over 30 years had now suddenly become verbotten because Obama was president? In case you forgot, that reporter endured a ton of intense media scrutiny and derision when the real question should have been what happened to the backbone of the rest of them?

    Yes, thanks to what had successfully happened during the Obama 2008 campaign, The White House press corps had become both neutered and the perfect self-policing entity. Exactly what Obama & Co. wanted, where “Never is heard a discouraging word.”

    FYI: In my opinion, this new emphasis at TheWrap on the news media's role in TV DOESN'T seem to be going very well. Perhaps the overtly cynical, blase and know-it-all bias of the people doing the writing has something to with that. It's the one aspect of TheWrap that I don't find appealing.
    Perhaps having a more fair-minded and objective writer would be better.

  • Dianarosa

    Pres. Obama still very closed friends with Rev. Wright. It's even suggested that he gave the Church $$$ so the Reverend will go away for awhile. Even do in the signing of the book when you enter the WH you must signed and show ID. That's when someone said didn't he refused to be close friends with then his friend and Rev. Wright? He fool thousands of people I am amazed by this President.

  • wriprodir

    So, you think the 2007 video is the October Surprise? Excellent. Have a martini, get a good night's sleep, and forget about it. Then, @ the 20th, be sure to have some adult diapers on hand. You will need them.

  • D C

    The video proved Obama is a liar, a racist and does a good voice impersonation of somebody from the south.