Update: Obama flops and flips and flops again. Now Obama is “Blaming the Staff” again. Earlier he said it was good outreach, now its back to vetting excuses, or is it still an outreach to bigots campaign strategy?
The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld has an exclusive Obama interview, in which he says gospel singer Donnie McClurkin was “not vetted as well as I would have liked to see,” but defends keeping him on the gospel tour.
Obama argues that it serves gay rights better not to keep the cause “hermetically sealed” off from the church. And he argues that his campaign isn’t different from others.
Eleveld also asked if he’d chosen Christians over gays.
“No, I profoundly disagree with that. This is not a situation where I have backed off my positions one iota.”
Meanwhile, the story heads off in all sorts of odd directions, with South Carolina AP saying the concert will be “overshadowed by criticism, protest.”
And a group called PFOX (“Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays”) is calling “for Gay Activists to Stop Promoting Hatred Against Former Homosexuals Participating in Obama Presidential Campaign.”
Now a week later, the concert is overshadowed by gay and lesbian activists upset that a singer who says homosexuality is a choice has not been removed from the lineup. Obama’s campaign tried to quell the anger by adding an openly gay pastor to the event, but the activists weren’t appeased and planned a protest outside Sunday’s concert – once seen as a unifying moment.
The campaign backlash piqued with a conference call Thursday night between one of Obama’s top strategists, Joshua DuBois, trying ease national criticism and discontent from more than a dozen of South Carolina’s top gay and lesbian activists.
The concert DuBois saw as an event to bring people together had actually fractured supporters who noticed that Grammy-winning singer Donnie McClurkin was a headliner.
McClurkin, who performed at the Republican National Convention in 2004, said this week that “sexuality, everything is a matter of choice.”
Obama’s campaign damage-control effort – putting openly gay Rev. Andy Sidden on the program – did little to lessen the activists’ outrage.
By week’s end, the affable DuBois, who was interviewed by The Associated Press after Obama’s “40 Days of Faith and Family” workshop a week ago, wasn’t responding to calls or e-mail. It was a stark contrast for the 25-year-old lay minister and stepson of an African Methodist Episcopal minister, who exhibited a glow when he talked about wrapping up the workshops and launching the concert.
It’s unclear if DuBois was ready for this week’s backlash. When the conference call about McClurkin ended, gay activists got off the phone and leaders of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement agreed to hold a protest, urging national groups to participate, too.
“They really didn’t make any headway,” the state group’s president, Michael VanDiver, said of Obama’s campaign. “They would never answer our questions other than saying Obama said he would not pull this guy from the event that is taking place Sunday.”
For LGBT people, it prompts the question, Weren’t Obama and, by extension, the people who run his campaign versed enough in the pain of the people he calls his “gay brothers and sisters” to see the McClurkin land mine before they rolled over it?
And can Obama really, as he claims, create the “big tent” movement he’s been selling, where voters who vehemently disagree on something as fundamental as what constitutes love put aside their differences to rally around a single candidate?
On the day Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton supporters celebrate her birthday Barack Obama supporters begin a gay bashing tour in South Carolina. Today is Barack Obama’s Shame Day. The South Carolina gay bashing tour was a deliberate attempt by the Obama campaign to send a coded message of bigotry. Barack Obama tried to silence those who speak out against bigotry. The Human Rights Campaign was not silenced. Other attempts to silence outraged Americans are likewise failing.
The gay community has known for decades now that Silence = Death.
With it’s oh-so-spot-on new tagline, “Acceptance Without Exception,” the Alliance for Full Acceptance sent a call out to members this afternoon to let the Obama campaign know if they’re upset about the anti-gay gospel singers joining Obama on his three-city tour.
Donnie McClurkin’s ministry only serves to create an environment where discrimination and prejudice flourish, something we do not expect from Senator Obama in his campaign. Mr. McClurkin’s stance toward the GLBT community rejects the DNC plan for inclusion and acceptance.
Many people have asked, “What can we do?”
· If Senator Obama wants to raise the issue of homophobia in our community, it ought to be done in clear and constructive ways.
· Tell him.
· If you think it is wrong to include in a presidential campaign a preacher who clearly seeks to demean healthy GLBT people choosing to live openly and honestly, contact Senator Obama’s campaign.
· Tell him:
Obama Campaign headquarters in Chicago: (312)819-2008
The protests against Obama will take place on the streets, not just on phone calls:
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s campaign held a hurriedly put together conference call Thursday night with gay and lesbian leaders in South Carolina to discuss the candidate’s gospel tour, which includes a singer who says homosexuality is a choice.
Obama campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis refused to talk about what was discussed.
Afterward, the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement decided to hold a vigil outside the Sunday concert in Columbia to protest gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, said Tony Snell, the group’s past president.
Obama’s campaign invited the Rev. Andy Sidden, a South Carolina pastor who is openly gay, to appear at the same concert. But Snell said that doesn’t right the program.
In case anyone in Obama’s mud slinging Chicago campaign has doubts, here is more proof that this story is not going away. Bigot tour Obama will be exposed:
A frantic effort by Senator Obama to defuse a row over the appearance of a homophobic gospel singer at a fund-raising concert appears only to have made matters worse.
Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign hurriedly added to the concert program yesterday an openly gay white minister, the Reverend Andy Sidden, to counteract the bad publicity generated by its decision to invite the Reverend Donnie McClurkin, a gospel singer who has described homosexuality as a “curse,” to headline a fund-raising event on Sunday in Columbia, S.C. [snip]
Mr. Obama stands accused of trying to win the support of socially conservative evangelical Christian African-Americans, who make up half of the registered Democratic voters in the early voting state of South Carolina, at the expense of gays.
Obama’s failed leadership skills are on full failure display.
Mr. Obama’s campaign went into crisis mode yesterday, with his advisers on the homosexual community at the center of the storm. The senator personally fielded complaints from prominent gay donors and urged the president of the powerful gay rights group the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, not to condemn him.
Obama first tried to have supporters call the Human Rights Campaign and pressure them into silence. That did not work.
However, the hectic efforts to defuse the row were unable to head off a scathing statement by Mr. Solmonese. “I spoke with Sen. Barack Obama today and expressed to him our community’s disappointment for his decision to continue to remain associated with Rev. McClurkin, an anti-gay preacher who states the need to ‘break the curse of homosexuality,'” he said. [snip]
The news that Rev. McClurkin would headline Mr. Obama’s “Embrace the Change” tour, and that the tour would include artists such as Mary Mary, a gospel duo that has also disparaged homosexuality, stoked a firestorm among gay and liberal bloggers.
A black political analyst, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, author of “The Emerging Black GOP Majority,” wrote an item on the Huffington Post headed, “Obama should repudiate and cancel his gay bash tour, and do it now.” Todd Beeton, at MyDD.com, asked, “Did Obama just lose the gay vote?”
According to a letter to Mr. Obama from the National Black Justice Coalition’s chief executive, H. Alexander Robinson, leaked to Fox News, the three days of concerts are populated by “gospel music’s most openly homophobic artists; the most volatile of which is the Rev. Donnie McClurkin.”
The full ugliness of the Obama campaign is being exposed every day:
Your willingness to share a stage with Rev. Donnie McClurkin is alarming and, frankly, deeply disappointing,” Mr. Robinson said. “Rev. McClurkin has consistently disparaged gay men and lesbians, spread half-truths and unproven theories about our lives and has shown a willingness to work with those who would use the rights of gay Americans as a wedge issue to divide black families for their own cynical political objectives.”
John Aravosis at AMERICAblog remarked that “Sucking up to anti-gay bigots and joining them on stage — no, giving them a stage — is certainly defying conventional wisdom as to how a Democrat becomes president.”
The executive director of the Brooklyn-based Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, wrote, “I can’t imagine why the Obama campaign would choose to associate with a man who is so closely identified with hatred and discrimination.”
Obama, typically, has responded with flowery printed words and a slap in the face to the gay community:
As for rushing onto the program Rev. Sidden, a white United Church of Christ pastor in Columbia, S.C., Mr. Boykin appeared doubtful that the trick would work. “Obama won’t win any new black votes by getting a white gay guy to speak at a black event,” he wrote. “Especially when there are plenty of black straight people, black gay people, families of black gay people, and friends of black gay people who could have been chosen to speak.”
Obama will persist with his South Carolina gay bashing tour.