'R' Word in Play in Pa.—and It's Not 'Recession'

White voters won't always say it, but they won't vote Obama
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2008 1:15 PM CDT
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at town hall event in New Philadelphia, Ohio, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Joe Biden must have been shocked when he met Carolyn Bauer in a Philadelphia diner. Bauer told Biden she’d never vote for his running mate. “It’d be disgusting to get a man named Barack Obama as president,” she said. “No way!” Racism is a real factor in Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Daily News reports, and though it’s usually more subtle, it could hurt Obama come November.

In a June poll, 30% of respondents acknowledged “at least some feelings of racial prejudice.” Often voters won’t acknowledge race as a factor, but instead say Obama is too liberal, inexperienced, or elitist. “You sometimes hear code words,” said one local Democratic official. But black candidates have fared well in recent Philadelphia mayoral campaigns, giving Democrats some hope. Says ex-mayor John Street, who is black, “Most people, black, white or brown, are fair.”