Barack-a-Wear

Barack-a-Wear

Barack-a-Wear

A campaign blog.
April 17 2008 6:38 PM

Barack-a-Wear

Ben Smith points out a fantastic moment in Barack Obama’s speech in Raleigh today, in which he described what you have to do when confronted with negative attacks like the flap over his "bitter" comment: "You just gotta kind of let it—," he said, before brushing some invisible dirt off his shoulders. "That’s what you gotta do." The audience devours it.

It’s a pretty historic moment if you think about it—the first-ever Jay-Z reference by a presidential candidate. (Actually, Obama has name-checked the rapper before.) Smith calls it a "generational dogwhistle"—something only certain voters can hear (or in this case, see). It's also something Hillary Clinton (not to mention McCain) not only wouldn’t do but probably wouldn’t even understand.

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But it’s also an example of how there’s nothing you can do the Internet hasn’t already done. Run a Google search for Jay Z and bitter and watch what comes up: a great mash-up of "Dirt Off Your Shoulders" and the Verve’s "Bittersweet Symphony." Maybe that’s where Obama got the idea?

Next thing you know, he’ll start talking about how he’s got 99 problems but … Actually, never mind.