Imus Affair Could Cost Obama

Stance on trash-talk seen as a litmus test for black community
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2007 10:11 AM CDT
Presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are seen at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Awards Breakfast in Chicago in this Jan. 15, 2007 photo....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Don Imus meltdown could have fallout for Barack Obama, as critics note that he kept his mouth shut for five days—until after the suspension—before condemning the shock jock's crude racial jokes. The candidate's caution is signaling to some black leaders that he isn't going to take a hard-line stance on civil rights, the Boston Globe notes. 

"This was so easy, and his unwillingness to touch it tells me this is going to be his third rail," says Princeton professor Melissa Lacewell. Obama advisers point out that he still beat Clinton and Edwards to the Imus-bashing. But he's staying mum on whether Imus should be fired—or whether he'd go on his show if he isn't.