Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Biden's comment on Obama: Racist or not?
We just had our afternoon production meeting and there was a lot of talk about what Senator Joe Biden said about Senator Barack Obama.

Today, the New York Observer published an interview with Biden. What caught our eye -- and plenty of other media outlets are picking it up too -- are his comments about Obama. Here's the quote that's generating all the buzz:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man." (Listen to Biden's statement here)

Some of the staff think he was out of line. Some feel he said nothing wrong. Several bloggers believe his remarks may have been racist.

We're not sure whether to add this story to our show tonight. What's your opinion about Biden's statement? Let us know.
Posted By Gabe Falcon, CNN Writer: 3:51 PM ET
  109 Comments
I think Biden needs to define what he meant by the word 'storybook.' In our society today, it is easy to read too much into words, but it is also a necessity to express our opinions tastefully. I think the story should be on the show tonight. If Senator Biden can explain what he means, fine. If he cannot, then I will ignorantly (or not so ignorantly) assume he meant his words to be a racist remark. It's a shame to think racism is still so prevelent even among the most "sophisticated." Until there is a day when no man or woman is discriminated against, America shall struggle against such stereoptyping.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, Edinboro, PA : 4:49 PM ET
Of course it is
Posted By Anonymous J. Perna, Montauk, NY : 4:50 PM ET
I am sure other "news" programs will devote entire segments to this issue...especially given Mr Biden's political affiliation. Once again, an ignorant politician opens his mouth without thinking and the focus is diverted from pressing problems in our country. We have 20 months to endure these stories. I would prefer to hear about a thoughtful politician who has real solutions for the problems we are facing (if such a person exists!) Talk about it if you must but keep it brief.
Posted By Anonymous Em, SLC, Utah : 4:55 PM ET
I run a restaurant where we show CNN much of the time and we are frankly sick of CNN (and other TV news outlets) taking stories that don't matter, charging them with drama and reporting on them for hours or days. There are so many things happening in the world that matter. A troop's death in Iraq can't be debated and should be explained in more detail to make it more real to us here in the states, for example.

I read Biden's statement as touching on an issue with Obama you can talk about. Not a racist idea, but simply the fact that Obama's charisma may allow him to become a leader of our nation. President Bush didn't have a great resume or speaking skills to become president, but a lot of plain speaking folks liked his charisma. I'm sure Biden and may other long time politicians are feeling jealous that a newcomer like Obama can jump in based on qualities they don't have.
Posted By Anonymous Maxwell Spangler, RTP, North Carolina : 4:56 PM ET
Of course it should be run tonight. Biden puts his foot is in his mouth again - nothing new in that! He said "you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," That is an insult in itself! THE FIRST! I think not. He should save the money he plans on spending on his presenential campaign, he would be like going from the frying pan and into the fire!
Posted By Anonymous Nan, LV, KS : 5:01 PM ET
I really can't see that Senator Biden meant anything by his comments about Senator Obama, but it will end up as an embarrassment to him that he's going to have to be questioned about over and over.
He's on The Daily Show tonight and it's probably within Jon Stewart's capacity to either make a big thing of it or make light of it.
It should be a very interesting show, I know I'll be watching...lol
Posted By Anonymous Bev Ontario Canada : 5:02 PM ET
I don't think Biden is a racist, but I do think his comments were insensitive and stupid.
Posted By Anonymous Todd Palladino, Freehold, NJ : 5:03 PM ET
Disgusting and racist comments, Biden should be ashamed of himself. I think the entire country should be in outrage and a public apology on all the major TV channels needs to be aired immediately.
Posted By Anonymous John, Atlanta, GA : 5:03 PM ET
I think Senator Biden is correct. Can history be racist?
Posted By Anonymous MJ Laraway, Portsmouth, RI : 5:06 PM ET
Of course this is a racist statement. It shows joe biden's bias. It also is a statement from the entire democrat party. It's like saying "well spoken". You might as well of used the N word. deep down, democrats feel this way about all african americans.
Posted By Anonymous John, NOLA : 5:07 PM ET
Cut him some slack. We are creating an atmosphere where it will soon be impossible to get our politicians to say anything meaningful without fear of sticking their feet in their mouths.
No one can be absolutely perfect with every comment uttered.
Posted By Anonymous Dick Cummings, Prescott, AZ : 5:08 PM ET
If stating the plain truth about Obama is racisim, we might as well make him President right now.

If any comment about Obama, including saying nice things about him, can be construed as racism, how can anyone hold a debate with him? Obama must live by the rules that apply to all public figures and political candidates. He cannot hide behind his race every time anyone says anything about him.

One way for Obama to gain my confidence would be for him to make a public statement asking Americans not to support him based upon race...and that criticsm or comments about him are fair game, just like any other candidate.

It is time for some Americans to grow up.
Posted By Anonymous Mark R. Shipley, Bremerton, Washington : 5:08 PM ET
I think it's just as ridiculous and just as much of a 'non-story' as George Allen's 'macaca' comment. Unfortunately, CNN and many other news outlets devoted countless hours of coverage to Mr. Allen's comment. It will be interesting to see, given Senator Biden's political affiliation, whether CNN mentions it at all.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce, Hilton Head Island, SC : 5:08 PM ET
Sure it was racist and out of line. I can't believe it is even an issue with CNN to air his comments. It should be covered in the show.
Posted By Anonymous Leon, Houston Tx : 5:08 PM ET
Hi Gabe~
I don't think the comment was meant to be racist at all and I am WAY liberal. I think he meant the remark as a compliment and like he was proud of Obama. I might be wrong so I would like to hear Biden's explaination, butI wouldn't make a mountain out of a molehill just yet.
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 5:10 PM ET
So other blacks aren't articulate, bright and good looking? It definately sounds racist to me.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Anderson, Decatur, IL : 5:11 PM ET
I think that what he said about Obama is certainly true, in that he is an articulate, nice guy etc., but what he implies by stating that he is the "first african american" to be this way is ridiculous. It says a lot about how he percieves african americans. He may not have meant it to be offensive, but I was shocked when I read the statement.
Posted By Anonymous Andrea Johnson, St. Louis, MO : 5:11 PM ET
LOL....you liberals kill me! Now tell the truth CNN and you liberals out there. What would you be reporting if this had been a Republican?
Posted By Anonymous gary branch, Alabama : 5:12 PM ET
I don't think it's racist - he was trying to convey the idea that the "first" of anything has to be non-threatening and kind of sanitized.
Posted By Anonymous Judith Gaughran, Clinton, Montana : 5:13 PM ET
This should definitely be on your show tonight. I am an independent, but am always frustrated to see Democrats get a free pass on comments around race and religion, when a Republican would be destroyed in all media outlets. If he is a candidate for President, then he needs to be held accountable, and not simply say "that was mis-interpreted". Imagine if he made a slip up comment like this about another foreign leader or culture. No Pass for Biden - put it on the show and see what shakes out. It would also be wise to discuss his 1988 Presidential campaign and why he stepped out of the race.
Posted By Anonymous John, San Antonio, TX : 5:14 PM ET
To help decide whether to add it to your show this evening, ask yourself, 'What if Newt Gingrich said it?'
Posted By Anonymous Bruce DeFrees, Hilton Head Island, SC : 5:15 PM ET
Absolutely not racist. To find it so it just more sensationalism.
Posted By Anonymous k. ohara, colorado : 5:15 PM ET
No, spend your time on true news like how we are all dying in Iraq.
Posted By Anonymous Ray Birmingham AL : 5:15 PM ET
The only option for a news organization is to report Biden's words and take them at face value. It's hard to classify as anything but racist the suggestion that there hasn't been an articulate, bright, clean, and nice-looking "mainstram African-American" before Barack Obama.
Posted By Anonymous Kelly Jefferson, Shrewsbury, MA : 5:16 PM ET
Biden wasn't being racist--he was being honest. Obama IS articulate, good-looking, smart and African-American. Rght now, he seems to offend no one--and attract everyone. And seasoned politicians recognize a star when they see it, and hear it. But come on, don't spend precious minutes parsing over whether the comments were racist. They weren't. What's far more important are all the pressing issues affecting Americans--not whether or not some remarks were racist.Plenty of time to dissect meaningless utterances in a year--or two.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara Laskin, NYC : 5:17 PM ET
I can't imagine that a politican today would purposely use racist remarks, but I suppose that sometimes their true feelings do slip out. At least now we know where he stands.

Perhaps he can begin his search now to find the next qualified black person so that it doesn't take another 40 years!
Posted By Anonymous Wade, Rockville, Maryland : 5:17 PM ET
You know good and well if he was a Repulican, you would run the story as soon as it came out. To be honest I can't tell whether it was or not, so give him a pass.
Posted By Anonymous Stephen Glaug, Wake Forest, NC : 5:17 PM ET
I feel rather certain that if a conservative, or a Republican of equal stature, had made these remarks, the comments would have gone completely around your discussion table and would have ended up on your evening shows as the lead story.

Frankly, who cares what he meant, and who is in a position to determine what he meant. If the comments have any importance, quit driving the story by speculating and simply ask the Senator to explain himself and be done with it.
Posted By Anonymous Darel Walser, San Antonio, TX : 5:17 PM ET
I think he meant Obama is the first African American who has a shot at the big one and he didn't mean that it was the first African American who is clean.
We have to view the whole picture.
Posted By Anonymous Luis Vargas, Mexico : 5:19 PM ET
I would like for you guys to ask him what did he mean when he said the FIRST MAINSTREAM AFRICAN AMERICAN who is articulate, bright, clean and good looking.
Posted By Anonymous Kenneth Beaumont, Texas : 5:19 PM ET
I believe that Senator Biden meant this a s a compliment! Don't make such a big deal over it! There are much greater issues with all of the candidates.
Posted By Anonymous Arthur,Bridgewater, NJ : 5:20 PM ET
I would think that someone with Sne. Biden's political tenure and experience would take the time to think about the words that are getting ready to come out of his mouth. How could anyone vote for him for preident, when he can't even watch what he says BEFORE the campaign begins?? Was is racist? Absolutely.
Posted By Anonymous Malcolm, Denton, TX : 5:20 PM ET
I think Joe Biden is only highlighting the five major differences between Barak Obama and himself.
Biden is not mainstream or articulate or bright or clean or especially nice-looking - but he is white.
And he has made himself extremely unattractive as a candidate.
Obama is at least will to talk issues and not personalities.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Canal Fulton, Ohio : 5:20 PM ET
I am an African American woman who is well educated up to the masters degree and I have been saying the same thing about Senator Obama since he came onto the scene. I have always liked Senator Joe Biden and do not think what he said is wrong. However, it opens the door for some of my people to begin to say Mr. Obama is not black enough and that Mr. Biden is a racist.
Posted By Anonymous Denise Hunter, Snellville, GA : 5:21 PM ET
This needs to be discussed. There will obviously be vocal parties on both sides of the argument - because there IS an argument. Was this racist? Possibly. Was it motivated by hate? Probably not. Did it possibly cost Biden his shot at the presidency? Probably.
Posted By Anonymous Joshua, Austin Texas : 5:22 PM ET
I think his comment was racist. Biden used so many qualifiers as trying to say no other Black candidates had theses traits. The typical statement is "you are so articulate." Biden has cut himself off from the black vote, which I believe is his strategy to attract to conservative democrats. Mr. Biden made a calculated statement to garner publicity to create a platform to tell the American people why he should be our next president.
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Atlanta, GA : 5:22 PM ET
Why are these "stupid" comments even put on the air? I like both of these men and do not think it was meant as a racist remar. What if it was reversed? I am so sick of people making big deals out of the least little thing. This is not news. Tell us something important. Who cares about these petty comments from people? Not me. It's stupid and ignorant.
Posted By Anonymous Barbara Taylor, Tampa, Florida : 5:23 PM ET
If he is saying that Obama is the first mainstream black man to be articulate and bright then that sounds racist to me, or if nothing else very sheltered.
Posted By Anonymous Luke, Milwaukee WI : 5:23 PM ET
I wish I could say I was shocked or surprised by Senator Biden's statement; however, I know his statement is representative of how many Americans in other racial groups (whites, asians) view Black America. White America sees leaders like Colin Powell and Condelezza Rice and thinks these are wondorous miracles to rise up out of the dregs of Black America. I can't tell you how many times someone has remarked to me, "Oh have impressed me so much, you are so articulate." I wish it wasn't such a shock. These individuals are also shocked when they find out I don't like fried chicken, I drink soy milk, and I can't dance. Dare to dream!
Posted By Anonymous J.P.White Washington, DC : 5:23 PM ET
I think that we have reached a point in our world where it is clear to anyone paying attention, that criminals and other scourge come from all walks of life. Excellence does too. I think it is unfortunate that an intelligent, articulate clean cut african american is still viewed as rare, an oddity. I think that Mr. Biden needs to explain himself. The comments don't seem blatanly racist, however, they certainly seem to convey shock in Senator Obama's poise and I question why.
Posted By Anonymous Lori, Duluth, GA : 5:23 PM ET
Ask yourself, if Dick Cheney said it, would you hesitate for a second to report it? Would you even ask us bloggers if you should?
Posted By Anonymous Wayne Johnson, Panama City, Florida : 5:24 PM ET
It is his statement " the first African- American" that lends weight to the preception that it was racist, i.e., you have never had an African-American possessing these qualities. I do not think that Senator Biden is racist but his statement reflects more of his parochialism and the narrow and caustic view he has of African-American which problem stems from his environment, more so, than his belief system.
Posted By Anonymous J. Morrell, Orlando, Florida : 5:25 PM ET
Biden's comments are totally condescending to all blacks. So Jesse Jackson, Condi Rice, Collin Powell, MLK, Terrence Thomas and all us are not bright and clean (whether literally or in criminal terms). That's a shame on Biden who I was going to support. He's said similar nonsense before about Indian's in Delaware Convenient stores. He's really a joke. But again Biden's view is just "mainstream" view Americans hold about blacks so he not alone. May be this is another "botched joke".
Posted By Anonymous Aaron James, Washington, DC : 5:26 PM ET
Would the comment have been said if he were not black? I think not. I am sure the Senator meant well but he also is guilty of what a lot of "What? Me Racist" do is making sweeping generalizations. After all, what about Colin Powell and Condi Rice. They certainly are mainstream. I will not make the call but he is either racist or ignorant. He'll have to decide which.
Posted By Anonymous Cristobal Jose, Seattle, WA : 5:26 PM ET
Biden is well known for "putting his foot in his mouth" but I don't believe his comment has any racial undertones.

It's unfortunate, for Biden, that on the very day he announces his bid for president, he makes such a blunder. This will hurt his campaign for a little while. Until the next person running says something foolish.

You can bet, Hillary Clinton is smiling today.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa, Dallas, Texas : 5:27 PM ET
As an African-American; one who is Clean, bright, and all those other wonderful adjectives handed out by Biden, would like to urge CNN to drop-it. This is not worthy of your show.

Obama is great! The fact that he's a shade or two darker makes him even greater according to the cable networks! If that's what it takes to make history in '08, I'm all for it.

However, I just want anyone but Bush. Barney can run if he likes.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin, Memphis, TN : 5:27 PM ET
Biden is a BS guy. There are plenty of African Americans who are articulate, clean, and nice looking. If he would come out of his cave, he would know that his comments are senseless, baseless, insensitive, and outright racist. Senator Obama is certainly not representative of a storybook, because there are many who are just like him. Biden, is a fool and if he would look around him he would see.
Posted By Anonymous Rene, Dallas, TX : 5:27 PM ET
I don't think he was trying to be racist, although it could be taken as such. The only part that sounds like veiled racism is "clean." I'm assuming he means from a political standpoint, which would pose no problem. I wouldn't waste my time covering this. Cover PEAK OIL!
Posted By Anonymous Jackson, Rome, GA : 5:28 PM ET
I think it was an off the cuff comment that has nothing to do with Biden being a racist. People are way too sensitive these days.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Clements, San Diego, CA : 5:28 PM ET
This is back door Racist a lot of people feel that way in the US.We they think of black people it's two kinds the everyday and the famous or rich.I just think it came out his mouth the wrong way but thats how he feels in his heart.I bet some of his best freinds are BLACK.
Posted By Anonymous Roderick Cunningham Rochester New York : 5:28 PM ET
I am an African American author and business professional. I am not offended by this comment, because I understand where Senator Biden was trying to go. I can see where others will believe he's saying that being African African means not being articulate or bright, or that Senator Obama is an anomaly. Personally, I think we need to look at intent. This was obviously a compliment gone bad, and should be treated as such. Senator Biden should have stated that Senator Obama is electable in a country where that was not possible a short time ago in our country's history. That's a compliment to Senator Obama and America.

You'll have no choice but to cover it. America prefers drama to reality, so you'll be asked to entertain by discussing this over something of more significance. Please select an angle to this story that diffuses it instead of stoking the fire.
Posted By Anonymous James LeGrand, Edison, NJ : 5:29 PM ET
I think you guys are full of it. There is no story there and you are trying to create one. Makes me wonder if you have an agenda. I don't like the spin being put on it. You should stick to 'REPORTING' the news and not 'CREATING' it. Cheap shot. Take it off the story board.
Posted By Anonymous Ijaz Mahboob, Springfield, VA : 5:30 PM ET
I don't know if everyone understood which part of that statement was racist. The word storybook is perfectly neutral and not the problem. The problem is that Biden referred to Obama as the first articulate, bright, clean, and nice looking African American. This makes me think he believes most African Americans are not articulate, bright, clean, and nice looking. If this sentiment isn't how he sees all African Americans, it certainly does say what he thinks about the ones he does business with in the political realm.

That being said, I only have access to the words out of context on your blog and will not say that Senator Biden is racist because of these comments. It has been my experience that the media takes things out of context and puts whatever spin they feel will be the most damaging to a person and most dividing for the non-bright, inarticulate, unclean, and bad looking people who actually buy into what the media is selling. Maybe you should ask Senator Obama if you should run the story rather than the uninformed masses. If he took offense, it is a story; if he did not, it is not a story.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Davenport, Iowa : 5:30 PM ET
Why is the comment considered racist. Sen. Biden is simply COMPLIMENTING Sen. Obama on being almost perfect. Too good to be true Obama seems to Biden like a storybook character.
Posted By Anonymous Pawera, NY, NY : 5:31 PM ET
Oh yes that was complete bigotry at work. His words mean that there has never been a bright, articlate, clean or nice looking black person in the public eye in U.S. history. To defend
this comment as having no revealing meaning is plain wrong. It is racist to claim otherwise.
Posted By Anonymous JohnBob San Francisco, Ca : 5:31 PM ET
While Biden no doubt meant to be complimentary, my WORD! Clean??

I can only hope that he meant 'untainted by scandal' or perhaps 'clean-cut' or 'clean-living'. But it implies ... well, that other black candidates were NOT clean.

I give him a pass on 'articulate' - it's not true that only blacks are called articulate; John Edwards has been getting 'articulated' a lot lately. But with respect to 'clean', he's got a lot of explaining to do.

Bruce's comment above, "I think it's just as ridiculous and just as much of a 'non-story' as George Allen's 'macaca' comment", is pretty hilarious, since Allen's comment at LAST forced the national press to take notice of what a bigot the man ALWAYS was and made no attempt to hide. So if this is as much a 'non-story' as the 'macaca incident', it's pretty big.
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 5:32 PM ET
Insensitive, yes. Racist, not directly. Some of the "older generation" express themselves on such issues based on their life experiences. I imagine Biden, in his lifetime, has seen the effects of racism, like living through the rise and assasination of M.L. King, has seen the drafting and passing of legislation meant to curb the effects of racism. While his words can certainly be taken offensively, we must remember this a person who knows how racism has effected our country. My generation (X-ers) for the most part grew up payin little attention to race, as desegregation had already been implemented. Folks like Biden saw schools shut-down, bussing laws, school laws...etc. He expressed himself like someone of his generation might be expected, now he's a victim of political correctness in a millinium. Makes on ask what the "real story" might be....
Posted By Anonymous Porter, Savannah, GA : 5:36 PM ET
You always are on the lookout for an angle, a sensationalism for your show. Senator Biden did not say anything racist. He just stated the fact. Simple.
Stop of creating more divisions in this country. You are to blame for pitching groups, people against others.
You like that. That is rating, man. You could care less what the message meant. Your only concern is viewer share.
Stop your nonsense. It does not help anything at all.
Posted By Anonymous Len - Davie, FL : 5:36 PM ET
I think that his use of "first" messed up the whole thing. He may have meant it as a compliment but by adding the word first, it makes it seem like the scores of African Americans who are just as hardworking, bright and good looking (I can't even believe his looks came into it)are non-existent. The word choice stirs up some bad historical precedents. That being said, I do not believe he meant it to be racist, though you gotta wonder is this one of those "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh" situations? Lets at least allow the man a chance to defend himself before we label him a racist.
Posted By Anonymous Patricia, New York : 5:37 PM ET
I think it is time for Senator Biden to join Senator Kerry in the "stupid statement department" and to also join Senator Kerry in the "not running for Prez department". To think that I used to think highly of both of them and their knowledge and speaking abilities...
Posted By Anonymous Paul Eckhoff, Colorado Springs, Colorado : 6:08 PM ET
Stupid yes. Biden has clearly been taking lessons from Kerry. Racist, no. There is a pattern of Biden getting in trouble, if anyone remembers his quoting without attribution faux pas. But racist. Come on. Not every dumb statement is racist. Just call it what it is. Dumb, unguarded commentary from someone who likes to hear himself talk.
Posted By Anonymous Larry, Oceanside, CA : 6:09 PM ET
There is nothing inherently "racist" about the Senator's statement, but I'm guessing Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will never speak to him again. That's no way to make friends.

The problem with his statement is the lack of sensitivity. He's only been in the race for a few days and he's already spewing ugly, controversial remarks. He might as well step out of the race tomorrow.
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Los Angeles, CA : 6:10 PM ET
Absolutely it's a racist observation...however, that doesn't necessarily mean Mr. Biden is a racist. Sadly, he may only have been stating what much of white America seems to feel, which is that "black America" -- whatever that means -- is somehow not "normal." Until we all get over the fact that we all come from different places and are contributors to our society, remarks like Mr. Biden's, which is even more insulting than it is racist, will continue to reflect our collective surprise that a non-white can make it in America.
Posted By Anonymous John A. Heberling, Universal City, Texas : 6:11 PM ET
The comments weren't racist,but they were certainly boorish and condescending. Biden's just another out- of -touch rich guy looking down his nose.
Posted By Anonymous Skip Colbert. The Woodlands, TX : 6:11 PM ET
Biden's comment sounds like a left-handed compliment.

Look at Tiger Woods; did the sports media write last Sunday that he became the first African-American to win seven tournaments in a row? Or that Serena Williams became the first female African-American to win Gramd Slam tennis?

Next Sunday an African-American will coach his team to the Super Bowl, but both Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith seemed a bit perplexed when this was pointed out by reporters. They deserve to just be known as great coaches. Nothing added to it, no qualifier, just great coaches.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 6:11 PM ET
Plain racist: Why didn't he just refer to Sen. Obama as an American who is articulate... instead of 'first African-American man'. Is he envious or scared that Sen. Obama is better than him?
Posted By Anonymous Josie, Atlanta : 6:11 PM ET
Articulate, bright, clean, nice looking. It is unbelievable that those terms would be considered rascist, and I feel sorry for the kids of anybody who thinks so. Pathetic.
Posted By Anonymous mike, portland, or : 6:12 PM ET
biden's statement is rediculous l'm not a US citizen but black from africa. By saying that obama is the first african american well articulate bright nice looking person is stupid which mean others were until obama rose to the political picture ugly not bright or not well articulate. As a person looking for the top job he should pay attention on the words that he is using
Posted By Anonymous jules,silver pring,md : 6:12 PM ET
My goodness can't we say anything about someone of another race without it being called "racist"? Sen Biden's comments are not newsworthy. When will you journalists stop creating the news and return to reporting it?
Posted By Anonymous Jim Oliver, Grand Forks, ND : 6:13 PM ET
I really do not not see anything that is wrong with the statement. It is Biden's view and he is not worried about saying it. I think the statement is true anyway.
Posted By Anonymous Walt in Portland, OR. : 6:13 PM ET
Insert a comma after "mainsteam African American" and it changes the entire meaning of the sentence. Listen to the audio: it's pretty clear that Biden -- speaking extemporaneously -- was complementing Obama in both clauses of the sentence. Yes, Obama is the first "mainstream" black candidate to have a legit shot at the presidency (Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were never mainstream), and the rest of Biden's statement was frankly more admiring of a political rival (both guys are considering presidential runs) then may have been wise. The written transcript is open to misinterpretation; the audio isn't. This is no 'macaca' moment.
Posted By Anonymous BobC, North Kingstown, RI : 6:14 PM ET
I think it was quite obvious that Senator Biden was pointing out the (reverse) racism of others, including the media. We as an electorate seem to value style over substance. Obama's skin color and Hillary's gender have done far more to generate a 'buzz' for them than Biden or McCain's 20 years of Senate experience.
Posted By Anonymous Matt Newport News, VA : 6:14 PM ET
This comment is covertly racist because it appears as if Sen. Biden is praising Sen. Obama, but in fact he is actually shocked into this affirmation by the real possibility that this young man could become the president of our nation in '08. This is the new racism-a racism of forced affirmation and admiration.
Posted By Anonymous Charles, Winston Salem, NC : 6:16 PM ET
This is what I'd call a "back handed compliment," something that sounds like a positive comment, but is really an insult. Along the lines of my ex-husband saying, "wow, you really look feminine!" What he said is degrading!
Posted By Anonymous Kristie, Anchorage, AK : 6:17 PM ET
I think he said absolutely nothing wrong and whats the big deal in what he said? He told it like it is, Obama isn't going to get my vote, he has no experience and we would be done as a nation if he got elected he be a puppet for sure!!
Posted By Anonymous Steve Kennedy ,Knox In : 6:18 PM ET
You are not sure whether to add this story to your show tonight? You must be kidding me! If you need the thoughts and opinions of a certain number of others to help you determine whether or not a statement is racist and newsworthy...(particularly when it involves Democratic Presidential Candidates), you are as ignorant and racist as the person (Biden) making the statement!
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Sacramento, California : 6:19 PM ET
Barack Obama is an anomaly to people who only view blacks in stereotypical terms, which could be something Biden and others do subconsciously.
Posted By Anonymous Fay, Vacaville, CA : 6:20 PM ET
I think Biden was speaking from His heart. I believe He is a racist. And I don't think I would vote for some one like this. I just don't think it would be the right thing to do. I'm sorry.
Don
Posted By Anonymous Don Lubbock, Texas : 6:21 PM ET
I think his statement does not have a racist tone overall. However; by including "first" in his message it does sound like he believes black Americans are not typically clean cut and well spoken.
Posted By Anonymous Lee, Los Angeles, CA : 6:22 PM ET
What's the fuss about? Find some more meaningful and important topics to discuss on your show tonight. Obama is already an icon to some of us. Your excessive coverage of him isn't doing his presidential campaign much good. He'll be all washed up by 2008 if you continue at this rate. Sorry, Anderson.
Posted By Anonymous Max Zormelo, Hoboken, NJ. : 6:23 PM ET
As an African American I found Biden's comments to be appalling although I wouldn't necessarily say racist. To refer to Barack Obama as "clean" and to say he's the "first main stream, intelligent..." I couldn�t even read anymore and just felt so offended. The implication is that most blacks are dirty and furthermore that those who are in power aren't "intelligent or articulate" which is disgusting and disgraceful. To suggest it's a "non story" is to suggest that millions of people in this country although a minority, are a "non story" Still in my opinion these comments are more ignorant than viciously racist. I guarantee if Biden had African American family members or even respected colleges. He would have thought twice at referring that Barack Obama is the only "clean" African American politician.
Posted By Anonymous Melinda, Moorestown NJ : 6:23 PM ET
I don't think Senator Biden was attempting to be racist, nor do I think he views himself as a racist. However, his words very clearly reveal a latent racism that many Americans still hold to this day, despite all efforts to the contrary. Such subtle racism needs to be identified and brought to light in order to rid our nation of its menace.
Posted By Anonymous Sara Pulis, San Francisco, California : 6:24 PM ET
There's no story here - please don't participate in the racist "witch hunt."
Posted By Anonymous Pete, Washington DC : 6:24 PM ET
I feel Sen Biden merely gave the world an insight into the mindset of the average caucasian 'good ole boy' sect. As an African American male myself, I find the remarks made about Sen Obama to be true but to claim him as "first" or a "storybook" tale ?!!? That in itself exposes the ignorance of the author of those statements. The good senator should realise that the difference between himself and the vast majority of African Americans is the history of mental abuse, lack of opportunities, an undertoned rejection of our equality. Despite that, Sen Obama is just one of many 'storybook' tales of perseverance and the overcoming of a social evil. Perhaps Sen Biden should spend more time engaging African Americans in intellectual conversations to better acquaint himself with those he represents. If I did not know any other Caucasians and went by the statement he made. I'd also be in danger of making such ignorant presumptions about a people I do not know.
Posted By Anonymous Darren, Washington, DC : 6:24 PM ET
I am sick and tired of the media always looking for racial overtones to statements people make. We are in the 21st century and need to rise above it all. Yes, there are individuals who are racist but by large we Americans have gone past that and are better for it. I believe sincerely there is more racism in Europe than the US.
Posted By Anonymous A.Ansari, Atlanta, GA : 6:24 PM ET
Clearly he was paying the man a compliment. There's nothing racist at all. But we live in a world nowadays where, sadly, people are always looking to spin comments in a negative way. He's not saying Obama is the first black man in history to be articulate etc... , just that this is the first african-american candidate to be so qualified.
Posted By Anonymous Graham, Toronto, ON : 6:25 PM ET
ENOUGH WITH ALL THE OVERLY SENSITIVE KEEPERS POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. AS A 57 YEAR OLD AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALE WHO HAS HAD TO ENDURE YEARS OF VOTE DILUTING BY CANDIDATES WHO IN THIER WILDEST DISTORTIONS OF REALITY, COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED THEMSELVES TO BE LEGITIMATE CANDIDATES, FIND THIS CANDIDATE TO BE SUPREMELY MORE VIALBLE THAN ANY TO DATE. MR BIDEN COMMENTS ONLY EXPRESSED THE OBVIOUS TRUTH, NOT RACISM. DID HE EXPRESS ANY OPINION THAT THAT NOT PRIVATELY BEEN EXPRESS IN LESS PUBLIC FORUMS?
Posted By Anonymous GERALD DANIELS ,DALLAS,TX : 6:26 PM ET
The comments made by the Senator are absolutely demeaning and should be addressed. If these type of public comments are not challenged we are never going to advance beyond the race and gender issues that are holding up our progress as a nation. Imagine what is said in private if this was deemed as proper for public consumption. The comments added above make it clear that we are still ignorant as to what is offensive and what is not. I say report on it, but as a spring board to address the issue as a whole.
Posted By Anonymous Judy, CP Humphreys S. Korea, (US Citizen) : 6:26 PM ET
Senator Joe Biden's comment was out of line. A storybook? There are countless black men who are 'articulate, clean, bright, and nice-looking'. It is a slap in the face of every African-American when we are called 'articulate' as if it is so uncommon. As an African-American college student it is disheartening to think that no matter where I go in life, the emphasis is still on my color. Obama is a politician. Politicians are often smart, clean, articulate, and nice looking. Obama just happens to be black. This may come as a surprise to some, but he is certainly not an exception to the rule. Biden needs to open his eyes and take a good look around before making his blatant ignorance public.
Posted By Anonymous Alissa , Columbus, OH : 6:27 PM ET
CNN-you know you will be running this story regardless. As for the comment, let us not read too much into it. It happens way to frequently lately.
Posted By Anonymous Glen, Chicago, IL : 6:27 PM ET
Had this been a republican all heck would have broke loose. Of course it is racist but as usual nothing will happen to a democrat. I am also quite sure you will not let this opinion see the light of day because it does not fit in with CNN's political agenda!
Posted By Anonymous Pat - Germantown, MD : 6:28 PM ET
For sure and I also remember while networks were covering Senator Allen of VA and his poor remarks they also played clips fo Biden on a Cam phone saying some more racist coments. My consern is this if it is a one time thing fine but it is not! There is a very disturbing trend here. Thanks
Posted By Anonymous Dave St Louis,MO : 6:28 PM ET
By saying he is the only African American who is "articulate, bright, and clean," implies that no other African American is.

Who can that possibly not be viewed as racist?

In politics each of these terms has a different meaning though:

-articulate means a good public speaker.

-Bright means he appears intelligent in a conversation which is not always the truth with politicians, (our current president for example).

-Clean refers to his past public record, which for politicians is not always perfect (current president and prior president.)

If Biden was talking politics in context and saying that Senator Obama is one of the first prominent African Americans who has a substantial possibility at winning the presidential election, than this is not a racist statement.

It is a stupid comment for a veteran politician to make though regardless.
Posted By Anonymous Chance Holzwart, Greenfield CA : 6:29 PM ET
For heaven's sake! When was the last time we had a WHITE politician meet that same criteria? It's been a long time. Those who think Biden is implying that there never has been an articulate black man in the public eye is just looking for something. And is he wrong? Really now, think long and hard about who the last black man was that was articulate, bright and nice looking to run for the presidency? Jesse Jackson? GET OVER IT.
Posted By Anonymous david johnson, beaverton, oregon : 6:30 PM ET
To the CNN editors, I think you owe it to Biden and your readers to include a comma between "African-American" and "who" in the quote in question. Listening to the audio clip, it's clear that there should be one. Its omission drastically changes Biden's meaning, in a negative way. With the comma included, the quote still merits some discussion; it just becomes a more interesting one.
Posted By Anonymous Marcus Mavery, Elmhurst, NY : 6:31 PM ET
Drop it! Quit trying to make news.
Posted By Anonymous Tom Rhetoric, San Diego, CA : 6:35 PM ET
Will everyone stop being so sensitive??? It makes me sick that with a war going on, and all the shady things this administration has been pulling that we focus on a stupid comment by a Senator. Move on and focus on the real problems we have going on. Maybe that's why we have so many horrible things going on in the world because we focus on the small things instead of the bigger picture.
Posted By Anonymous Zack Carley, Chicago, Il : 6:37 PM ET
I think if an African American had made those remarks it would have been viewed as one of pride and enthusiasm. How is this any different then all the fuss made about two black coaches coming to the Super Bowl? If it is still acceptable to assign a color to people who are making history, then stop making more of it then it is.
Posted By Anonymous Patsy Meck, Hatboro, PA : 6:38 PM ET
Please add this to your show! Of course it was racist. But he will get away with it because he is a democrat. If a republican said the same thing you know what would happend. He makes it sound like all mainstream African-Americans are everything but articulate, bright and clean. Makes me wonder what he really thinks about the average black person.
Posted By Anonymous Shion, Austin, Texas : 6:39 PM ET
You can't run this story. Senator Biden is a Democrat.
Posted By Anonymous Reed, Eugene, OR : 6:39 PM ET
Anytime you have people calling a black man/woman articulate, bright, clean, nice-looking, its racist. Its ridcidulous to continuosly describe Obama as articulate. That goes without saying. He went to HARVARD law. Do people say that about white Harvard law grads? No, probably not...unless they are black. Ridiculous and insulting.
Posted By Anonymous Monica Hollywood, CA : 6:39 PM ET
apparently by the mere fact that senator Biden is caucasian, he is assumed to be racist...please! The remarks would not even raise an eyebrow if he was NON-caucasian. Maybe we should just start using references such as "mammal" to describe individuals. OY
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Folsom, CA : 6:40 PM ET
Biden is always opening his mouth without thinking. Didn't he make some comment about Indians a while back? Since I doubt he meant anything by it, to me this is a nonstory. However, once campaign season rolls into full gear I do hope you'll hold him accountable for his support of the horrible bankruptcy laws that were passed a year or so ago.

If I thought the guy was another George Allen I'd feel differently, but he's not. Let's keep our eyes on the real stories that matter to people's lives.
Posted By Anonymous Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 6:40 PM ET
i wouldn't do a segment about this on your show just yet...wait until Biden holds a press conference saying that he made those comments because he's an alcoholic and is now entering rehab, if celebrities can do it, why not politicians?
Posted By Anonymous Naomi Mac Millan, Island Park, NY : 8:01 AM ET
I think as a African American that this is offensive. This statement suggests that basically Obama is "The only black man with some sense", so to speak. The are plently of mainstream Inteligent man of color. I Dont think this is a racist comment but it is stereotypical, and ignorant.
Posted By Anonymous Steven White, Tallahassee Florida : 8:42 AM ET
The people that wrote in on this blog about punctuation seem to have nailed the interpretation. It should never have been reported putting in one's own commas. Barack Obama wouldn't have taken it the wrong way without all the hype. In the end he just stuck-up for other 'articulate' African Americans. Lighten up people, this campagne has a long way to go, watch for the REAL issues and don't stoop to causing problems where there are none.
Sheesh..imagine if Mr. Obama had been a Republican as well!
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Ont. Canada : 9:34 AM ET
Just looking at the comments I would say it wasn't rascist. Racism is so ingrained that people do not realize what they are saying is insulting. Looking at the big picture and seeing the other comments that have been attributed to Biden, I would have to say it was rascist. I am referring to the info that CNN had in its article: needing an Indian accent to enter a 7-11, and he not being a northeast liberal since Delaware was a slave state. I am undecided, but Biden definitely will not have my vote.
Posted By Anonymous Sonia, Plymouth Meeting, PA : 9:51 AM ET
This is the first time I have ever written to any type of show. However the topic at hand I can not ignore. I don�t think that Senator Joe Biden was making a racist comment. In fact I believe that he was just stating the truth. The image of African Americans in main stream American, with the exception of Oprah, are living in the ghettoes and uneducated. What the Senator said was more of a compliment to the Black community. There�s a whole other half of African Americans living in this country that live in the suburbs are highly educated that go unnoticed. Why is that? What is so wrong with recognizing their accomplishments? Senator Barack Obama is breaking the racial barriers in our government. The man is in the mist of making American history more people should shine a positive light on him, and others like him as Senator Joe Biden has. Our nation needs to wake up and let in a new image of African Americans. In fact not doing so, I feel is being racist.
Posted By Anonymous Sandra Vasquez, North Bergen, NJ, 07047 : 10:48 AM ET
When compared to Al Sharpton, who's out there marching for every cause and protest imaginable (usually instigating trouble instead of speaking out against it) Obama is clean (not tied to any messes or scandals - like Jesse Jackson). What Biden said is NOT racist, but simply OBVIOUS. People in this country really take themselves and their politicians way too seriously. Not every word is meant to be autopsied. Get over it.
Posted By Anonymous Milena, Ft. Lauderdale, FL : 10:49 AM ET
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