Washington Report - Page 4 of 5

Washington Report

Shut Up and Let It Go?

President Barack Obama faces a quandary. During interviews scheduled to air Sunday on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Univision, and also an appearance on the “Late Show With David Letterman” on Monday, Obama will undoubtedly be asked five variations of question he wants to avoid like the swine flu: “Are the teabag and other conservative protests against his political agenda steeped in racism?”

Despite Obama’s desire to put to rest the matter of Rep. Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Republican lawmaker received a slap on the wrist this week when the House passed a “resolution of disapproval” of his “You lie!” outburst during Obama’s joint address to Congress last week. Minority leader John Boehner and other Republicans called the reprimand a “partisan stunt” to distract the public from more important issues.

But many Democrats–particularly Majority Whip James Clyburn–felt they couldn’t rest until Wilson publically apologized to his colleagues or was sanctioned. After the vote they were ready to move on, but then former President Jimmy Carter weighed in reviving the issue.

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward [Obama] is based on the fact that he is a black man,” Carter told NBC News.

Boehner and the Republican National Committee say voters are merely expressing their anger over the president’s proposals and the nation is experiencing a major political rebellion.

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia said Carter is right. “This reminds me of the 60s and is a very sad moment in our history. Gov. George Wallace didn’t throw the bomb or pull the trigger, but he created an environment in which others could. Words are harmful and can lead to violence.”