(/sites/default/files/uploads/2012/10/Obama-Hampton-2007-speech-screenshot.gif)Last night, on the eve of the first and perhaps most important debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney, the Daily Caller released the first “October surprise” of the 2012 election in the form of an unedited 2007 video of Obama speaking at Hampton University. Dubbed by the Drudge Report and the Daily Caller as “Obama’s Other Race Speech,” the video promised to show the President describing America, in the Daily Caller’s words, “as a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America.” Indeed, the raw footage of Obama exposes odious racial hatred and demagoguery more befitting Rev. Jeremiah Wright than a mainstream political candidate. Moreover, far from conforming to the persona the President has marketed to the public over the last several years, the ideology put forth in the video more closely parallels what we know of Obama’s radical pre-presidential life.
Prior to the video’s release, many media outlets speculated that the speech in question was the one delivered by Obama in 2007 at Hampton University, a historically black college located in Virginia. Furthermore, some media sources decided that the speech had already been shown in full, that there was nothing controversial about it, or that a rebroadcast of it could be construed as “race-baiting” by a conservative news outlet.
While the speech in question was the one delivered at Hampton University, as Daily Caller editor-in-chief explained to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, who broadcast some of the video, some of the most revealing aspects of the speech had not been heard before, and the media had reported on what was in the transcript of the speech, despite the fact that the president ad-libbed the most incendiary remarks (at length).
One of the initially striking aspects of the video was not the speech itself, but Obama’s delivery. Obama affected a phony minstrel-esque accent to condescend to the black audience, which African Americans ought to find insulting. It was in this manner that Obama unleashed a torrent of lies regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina, accusing the Bush administration and the federal government of being racist. He went so far as to imply to the audience that the hurricane victims were not viewed as a part of the “American family” because New Orleans is a “black-majority” city, which the government didn’t “care about as much.”
“Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt twenty months later,” he began, “there’s a law, federal law–when you get reconstruction money from the federal government–called the Stafford Act. And basically it says, when you get federal money, you gotta give a ten percent match. The local government’s gotta come up with ten percent. Every ten dollars the federal government comes up with, local government’s gotta give a dollar.”
“Now here’s the thing,” Obama continues, “when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act–said, ‘This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars.’ And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, ‘Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together–because you’re part of the American family. That’s not,” Obama says, “what is happening in majority-black New Orleans. What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money? Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!”
One thing that is not new here is the president’s penchant for lying whenever it suits his purposes. As both Fox and the Daily Caller point out, six months before this speech, the federal government had already sent approximately $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Furthermore, the federal government did waive the Stafford Act on several occasions during its reconstruction efforts. And the Bush administration also sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-effected areas–with no strings attached. Senator Obama undoubtedly knew about all of it, yet he apparently wasn’t going to let the truth get in the way of a good speech.
At another point in the video, Obama implies that black Americans were excluded from the re-building process in New Orleans and insinuates that federal projects were benefiting stereotypically white sectors such as the “suburbs” and white-collar industries like Halliburton. Obama contended that we should have had “our [black] young people trained to rebuild the homes down in the Gulf. We don’t need Halliburton doing it.” Above he’s complaining that New Orleans hasn’t re-built 20 months after the hurricane, yet he would apparently prefer taking time to train young people to rebuild, even as he dismisses the services of one the world’s largest engineering and construction companies in the process. Obama also said that federal transportation dollars should go to the “highest need communities,” not “highways out in the suburbs,” and that additional funds should be invested in “minority-owned business in our neighborhoods, so people don’t have to travel from miles away.”
Yet how the president sees such people is quite telling. “We can’t expect them to have all the skills they need to work,” he says. “They may need help with basic skills, how to shop, how to show up for work on time, how to wear the right clothes, how to act appropriately in an office. We have to help them get there.” This passage reveals the true nature of Obama’s hard-left worldview, one of the central pillars of which is that substantial numbers of Americans are utterly helpless without the guiding hand of big government.
By any reasonable assessment, the Hampton University speech is miles away from Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that catapulted him to national prominence. With an eye to the national stage, Obama said, “The pundits, the pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states,” and further that we are “one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.” Except when the president is dividing us by race and class in order to win an election.
Some commentators have already assailed the President as an unprincipled chameleon, saying what he thinks his audience wants to hear. For instance, Obama began his speech with “a special shout out” to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who had already become a controversy at the time. He praised Wright as “my pastor, the guy who puts up with me, counsels me, listens to my wife complain about me. He’s a friend and a great leader. Not just in Chicago, but all across the country.” But soon after, when that friend and great leader finally became a political liability due to his overtly racist worldview, Obama was able to distance himself from Wright, amazingly using his 2008 speech about race as a vehicle. And once again, just as in 2004, the president was hailed by the media as a uniter, a post-racial vision of the future – only a short time after he parroted the deeply divisive and hateful views of Jeremiah Wright.
A chameleon though he may be, this does not change what we know for certain about Obama’s radical past, in which frequent off-script imbroglios fit perfectly. Thus it was important, as Hannity noted in his opening segment, to hammer home the point that Obama’s ability to have it both ways – to cast himself as a “pragmatic uniter” while espousing the ideology of Jeremiah Wright, Derrick Bell, Saul Alinsky and Communist operative Frank Marshall Davis – is only possible because of a mainstream media more than willing to let him get away with it. To add insult to injury, as the Caller reveals in a separate story, the Democratic National Committee was working with tweets from reporters at organizations including Politico, BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, New York Magazine and the Atlantic, to discredit the Hampton University video before it was aired.
This same media malfeasance found no better representation than in the following discrepancy between the last line of the speech’s prepared transcript and Obama’s actual remarks, which was apparently not of interest to any journalists present at the event. “America is going to survive. We won’t forget where we came from. We won’t forget what happened 19 months ago, 15 years ago, thousands of years ago,” the transcript said.
What Obama actually said was this: “America will survive. Just like black folks will survive. We won’t forget where we came from. We won’t forget what happened 19 months ago, or 15 years ago, or 300 years ago.” The added reference to “black folks” and the change from “thousands” of years ago to “300” is as subtle as a Mack truck. Just as important, the media is more than willing to pretend such divisiveness isn’t happening. This video shows otherwise – in no uncertain terms.
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