Michael Powell of the Times probably does not even realize how laughably tilted his first two paragraphs are in his story about Obama and race.
Senator Barack Obama is a man of few rhetorical stumbles, but this week a few of his words opened a racial door his campaign would prefer not to step through. When Senator John McCain’s camp replied by accusing him of playing the race card from the bottom of the deck, the Obama campaign seemed at least momentarily off balance.
The instinctive urge to punch back was tempered by the fact that race is a fire that could singe both candidates. So on Friday the Obama campaign, a carefully controlled lot on the best of days, reacted most cautiously as it sought to tamp down any sense that it was at war with Mr. McCain over who was the first to inject race into the contest.
Let's see - Barack "57 States" Obama is a man of few rhetorical stumbles? That would probably appear to be true if we relied on the Paper of Record to record his many gaffes. But ABC, the Chicago Sun Times, and Michelle Malkin present an alternative reality (although none mention Jerusalem as an undivided city, or not.)
And what about the "instinctive urge to punch back" mentioned by Mr. Powell? The lack of just that instinct has bedeviled former Dem candidates such as The Duke or John Kerry, and contributes to a general sense of Dem candidates as weak. Eventually, Mr. Powell notes that the presence of such an instinct is still not proven in the Team Obama camp:
After two straight defeats in presidential elections, Democrats sometimes speak of hungering for a more aggressive standard-bearer to confront Republican attacks. Some wonder why, every time he speaks of the economy, Mr. Obama does not mention that Mr. McCain’s chief economic adviser referred to a “mental” recession rather than a real one.
“I am somewhat mystified that he isn’t attacking much harder on the policy front,” said Ronald Walters, a political scientist at the University of Maryland. “He needs to rev up his attacks, and his proposals.”
But this is to some extent Mr. Obama’s sleight of hand. He relies heavily on surrogates, and tends to back into his attacks. So he cues up Mr. McCain as “an honorable man” and a “war hero,” before skewering him as lacking in ideas.
Whatever - in Times world Obama is a smooth-talking instinctive fighter, and I'm sure they are happy there.