Barack Obama’s Shame Day

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.”

South Carolina Associated Press:

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.”

The Advocate:

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.

The gay community is not keeping silent:

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, 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.


41 thoughts on “Barack Obama’s Shame Day

  1. More rats are jumping ship…

    A reader forwards a copy (.pdf) of an invitation to a November 1 fundraiser with Bill Clinton that’s raising eyebrows in Obama’s hometown.

    That’s because one of the hosts, Elzie Higginbottom, is a major player in the city’s politics and a close ally of Mayor Richard Daley, for whom he’s a key point of contact with the African-American community.

    A wealthy real estate developer, Higginbottom is close to Obama’s Chicago circle, and part of the establishment that, until now, has been nearly united behind Obama. My source, who isn’t a Clinton supporter, described his support for Hillary as a serious crack in the Chicago front.

  2. What’s next Kostner, Oprah throwing a fundraiser for Hillary? The Higginbottom fundraiser is a crack in the dam, watch out for the floodwaters to come. As Obama tanks, lots of his supporters will begin to raise money for Hillary.

  3. BTW, regarding the weak responses from Obama supporters about Hillary and Reverend Mayberry:

    The Clinton campaign says that Mayberry has never “endorsed” the senator. She has met with him, and the campaign did send out a press release quoting him saying

    The way [Clinton] addressed the need for the federal government to partner with inner cities suggests that she’s not just focusing on international issues but that she’s concerned with domestic ones – particularly crime and violence in our communities. I want a president who knows how to strike a balance between addressing international and domestic challenges facing this country.

    But that, says the campaign, is not an “endorsement.”

  4. I did an interview with the Chicago Tribune, and the guy asked me if any body was switching sides, and I sai, “there are some students in the GLBT community switching sides lately because obama is going on tour with a homophobic guy”. He was like, “who are they switching to?” I said “Hillary” (:

    They are going to take a picture of me and a person from the Giuliani campaign (our offices are directly next to eachother) staring at eachother in front of the offices. Should be fun.

  5. Congratulations Celiff. We want to see that picture!

    BTW, the carbynew link is another sign of Kostner’s comment about fundraisers leaving Obama. Here are excerpts:

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A longtime Democratic fundraiser has abandoned Barack Obama’s campaign to help rival Hillary Rodham Clinton win the party’s presidential nomination.

    Bob Farmer, who was a top fundraiser for several past Democratic presidential candidates, had served on Obama’s national finance committee.

    Farmer’s defection to Clinton comes as her presidential campaign has been building steam. She holds a double-digit lead in national polls and a clear advantage in early voting New Hampshire. Iowa, however, still remains competitive among Clinton, Obama and John Edwards.

    For Obama, the loss of such a big name in political fundraising circles is hardly welcome news at his campaign.

    Farmer was the finance chair of the Democratic National Committee during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He was a top fundraiser for Michael Dukakis in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992 and John Kerry in 2004. Farmer served as Kerry’s national treasurer in 2004, but when Kerry decided he would not seek the presidency in 2008, Farmer was one of several Kerry financial backers who chose to help Obama.

    Bill Clinton chose Farmer to be his top diplomat in Bermuda, and the Clinton campaign was unhappy when Farmer picked Obama over the former first lady. Nevertheless, campaign officials continued to court him.

    Farmer has donated to all the leading Democratic candidates, a practice not uncommon this election cycle. Federal Election Commission records show Farmer gave $2,300 to Obama in March, $2,300 to Edwards in June and $2,300 to Hillary Clinton in July.

  6. Boy, Bush is such an idiot. He is really ratcheting up the Iran rhetoric. How do you think this will effect the primary? I hope Hillary ugres Obama, Biden and Dodd to sign onto the Webb amendment.

  7. I think Obama is hurting himslef not with teh gay vote but with the A-A vote, too. I mean, he’s actually very transparent in his speaking to A-A voters as if all are homophobic bigots. Or that they are too stupis to realize he’s using Rove’s trick of dividing voters on the gay issue. A-A voters aren’t stupid and it’s that sort of patronizing, idiotic dickitude (I said it first) that is turning off middle class voters. The fact he’s losing the A-A vote and doing in this in SC where he needs a win to shore up a probable 3 or maybe 4th place finish in IA is driving this poor, poor decision. It also shows how much he is worried about the IA and NH numbers. Hell, he’s already given up on NV.

    First rule- treat voters as intelligent people. Do not pander. Well, at least so transparently. It tells voters all you care about is power and not so much the issues that drive voters to the polls.

    What a butthead.

  8. Also, he basically said in that letter that most AA’s share McClurkin’s views. Now he has said some pretty out there stuff, AA’s are not going to like Obama saying they all think like this. Even if there is some homophobia, this is just disrespectful.

  9. We posted a long update. Obama did an interview with the The Advocate, a top gay publication. Obama keeps digging a bigger hole for himself. By Sunday this story goes nuclear.

  10. Yeah. If I’m an African American voter in South Carolina, I’m thinking, “Why is Obama dragging me into this? I didn’t say anthing about gay folk.”

  11. hwc,

    Exactly. I just caught a clip of ABC Evening News. They ran a story of Clinton’s birth bash(ing). It was hilarious. They kept on playing all the male opponents such as Rudy, McCain, Edwards thumping their chests to bash Clinton. They then showed her making jokes to dismiss these male clown. It’s really cool.

    I hope to download it from their site when it’s available.

  12. This Iran vote is getting almost comical. Biden is now jumping in to slam both Clinton and Obama…

    When this vote is treated like campaign football by these candidates, you know it won’t hurt Clinton at all…

  13. Wow…I watched Hardball with Chris Matthews tonight. He said that the Democrats “might get “stuck” with Hillary as the nominee”. Gee, I always thought that it was us Democrats ourselves who picked our nominee during the primaries. Is he saying that there are some conniving people out there just waiting to vote and “stick” her there against the wishes of most Democrats? He doesn’t make sense…Also, he thinks Hillary is fraudulent because she chastised Rudy for supporting the Red Socks in the series. He just can’t seem to get over it. He tried to make her out a liar because she also is a Chicago fan (he had video of her saying this). I haven’t watched Matthews alot–I think he’s the most biased commentator I’ve ever seen. What an idiot! In my opinion, that show is a waste of electricity…

  14. Matthews really needs to get help. Now, he’s complaining about the way Hillary claps.

    You caught a classic Hardball. He bashes Hillary 5 nights a week now, but tonight’s bash was one of his best. He was practically foaming at the mouth. I thought his head was going to explode.

    I loved the author tonight of the new Hillary bash book. She refused to say who she would vote for (on the grounds of “jounalistic integrity”) and then, later in show, called Bill Clinton “insane”.

    The backstory on all this is that Clinton is giving Matthews the cold shoulder. For about two months now, they have refused to have any Clinton or Clinton campaign spokesman or Clinton surrogate appear on his show. They’ve totally frozen him out. Meanwhile, both Hillary and Bill have done long interviews with Keith Olbermann on Countdown on MSNBC.

    BTW, I don’t want to hear one damn thing about Clinton’s presidential papers until Bush releases the Iran Contra papers from the Bush I library. George W. issued an executive order that basically seals presidential records for decades. All these indignant pundits should go talk to Bush.

  15. BTW, Tucker Carlson had the dweeb who is forming this anti-Hillary PAC to run negative advertising because she’s not liberal enough. He was pathetic. He’ll be lucky enough to raise enough money to afford a homemade webcam YouTube video of his anti-Hillary rants.

    Seriously, I just have to laugh at the netroots crowd. They are so desperate and so clueless about American politics. Honestly, I’m surprised they aren’t organizing a draft Dukakis movement.

  16. hwc, Was that Sally Bedell Smith? And she called Bill Clinton insane? That’s a new one, lol.

    BTW, I’m glad Hillary’s people are boycotting his show. The ratings are lame anyway, so it’s no loss.

  17. HWC,
    I cannot believe it was Sally Bedell Smith would say Bill Clinton as insane. I thought her book wasn’t as biased as the rest of the pack. I cannot make any sense of why she would call Bill insane!!!

  18. I just cannot stand Matthew’s show and his silly ranting – but Sally Bedell Smith calling Bill insane? That is shocking. When I get home I will watch it

  19. Secret,

    The sales of those Clinton books really suck. WSJ published an article a few days ago details the copies of two Hillary bios sold this year. i can’t believe one has only sold 15,000+, and the other one sold over 50,000. They had almost 1 million printed each. Those two books got promoted relentlessly on cable TVs, Clinton stories are so old, nobody is interested.

  20. Yes. She called him insane. Remember, this is a woman whose claim to fame is a psychobabble bio of Princess Di.

    Kostner: What do you mean guest? I though Elizabeth Edwards was the new co-host of Hardball, she’s on there so often. Half of Matthews’ guests — like Chuck Todd — just roll their eyes at his behavior when it comes to the Clintons.

    BTW, C-SPAN has the video of Clinton’s birthday bash up now:

    It’s linked at the top of the page.

  21. hwc,

    it’s amazing that Edwards’ supporters are complaining media is blacking him out. He’s all over the map, on all sorts of tv shows. The truth both him and EE are becoming pretty old news, nobody pays attention to them…

  22. Kostner,
    Thank god – I was quite interested in her book and it was interesting about how they are collaborative in their work and things like that – so, I was about to buy an audio copy of it! It was bloody expensive as well! What a turn off. I though Sally Bedell Smith was a bit more balanced and doesn’t slander.

  23. What I was interested in that book is not the same old Clinton story but the dynamics between their relationship and Hillary came across as a very strong – pragmatic woman. What a stupid thing to say Bill is insane. Oh I am so mad at myself for thinking Sally Bedell Smith was different. Thanks HWC for giving a heads up!!

  24. Secret,

    I was referring to the dismal sales of those two new Hillary books. One is ‘A woman in charge’, can’t remember the other…

  25. hwc,

    I read a quite odd comment by EE on dailykos. You may be the centre figure in EE’s latest conspiracy theory! Here’s what she said today at a house party in NH.

    “I’m going to throw in something that is important for me to throw in because I have now heard it in a number of places.

    This being the kind of undercover criticism … coming from other campaigns honestly … ”

    “I am not too sick for John to be either a candidate for President or President.

    I’ve gotten nothing but encouraging news from my doctors. They’re looking at things that mean nothing to me, but I’ve gotten nothing but encouragement from them. And I’m a terrible liar so I promise you … even if I were getting bad news there is no prognosis that would put me under before November of 2008. laughter

    Honestly I expect to see my children graduate from High School applause … including my seven year old…

    It actually makes me mad that people are saying this. I just want to make certain and I’ll probably do some clarifying over the next few days while we’re in the state to make that clear to people. I just wanted to throw that in here since it was one of those undercover attacks, I’ll throw it in on that one. ”

    Gosh, be prepared for EE’s push back on how healthy she is!

    I remember she is an avid blog reader, and she sometimes jumped out unexpectedly on some obscure blogs to ‘refuse’ ‘rumors’ about her. I guess she has spent some time on myDD, and might have read some of our comments regarding her health condition.

    I can guarantee you this will become EE’s paranoid conspiracy theory… Edwards campaign is just a joke.

  26. Koster,
    have you had a chance to see “For the love of politics” I was so fascinated by that. Part of the reason why I like Hill is her passion for politics and it came across so well – as to how Bill and Hill were the two part of the same political brian. I am so disappointed at the author’s attack on Bill.

  27. Kostner,
    This is the 3rd book not the 2nd. I so believed that this was not an attack book on Hillary! As I told u I was about to purchase an audio book of that book – now – I will watch the author on hardball when I get home and think if I want to spend the money on her audio book.

    I am very anxious about the upcoming debate. I hope Hillary does well. Gosh all the attack sogs will have a go at her!! Hope Hillary is prepared.

  28. “It actually makes me mad that people are saying this.”

    I don’t want Elizabeth Edwards to be mad. She and her spouse are welcome to drop out of the race if they they can’t take the heat.

    Speaking of health issues, the media is really dropping the ball on Fred Thompson. The man has non-Hodgkins lymphoma which is not curable. Why aren’t they demanding his health records?

  29. hwc,

    I found it’s extremely amusing that a serious presidential candidate and his spouse are counting on blogsphere echo chambers to get the sentiment of ordinary voters. Edwards’ campaign manager(?) Trippi is also using web traffic as their ‘daily’ metrics to gauge their ‘momentum’.

    It’s just breathtakingly crazy…

  30. I find Obama campaign pathetic!!

    Democratic fundraiser ditches Obama for Clinton
    WASHINGTON (CNN ) – Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign lost a seasoned fundraiser Friday to Democratic rival Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York.

    Bob Farmer has worked on Democratic presidential campaigns since former Sen. John Glenn’s presidential run in 1984. Until recently, he served on Obama’s national finance committee before deciding to leave for the Clinton camp. Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton told CNN that Farmer has not raised any funds for the campaign.

    When asked what Farmer did for the campaign, Burton told CNN “nothing.”

  31. “How do you feel about the upcoming debate?”

    If I were Hillary, I would walk out on stage in a football helmet. I expect every man on the stage to attack her start to finish. That’s all they’ve been doing on the campaign trail. They are getting pretty desperate.

  32. Let’s see if these guys have the courage to attack. They have plenty of balls when they don’t have to look HRC in the eye, then cower in her presence. What fools they are.

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