Barak Obama: Race and Inexperience

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With just two years in the Senate, Barak Obama is a political star who wants to be America's first black president. He counters the charge of inexperience by saying voters want "a new kind of politics." But his Washington record looks in some ways like business as usual, and African-American opinion leaders say he lacks the cultural history that makes him truly "black" in their eyes. The Illinois Democrat also has been criticized for being too cautious about the war in Iraq. Yesterday, he said he'll introduce legislation for a "phased redeployment" of American troops. It's still not clear whether he'll back Edward Kennedy's bill to cut off funding to increase troops. Can Obama turn sudden celebrity into a credible run against political pros like Clinton and Edwards? Will his appeal to white voters turn off the black constituency that's crucial to Democrats?




Warren Olney