Alexander (can I call him Sasha on the Internets?) has a good breakdown of the Obama performance I didn't see up at his TNR stomping grounds. There's one thing I want to take issue with, though:
The exception, I think, was his line about overcoming the stigma of HIV/AIDS, which Jon cites:
One of the things that we've got to overcome is a stigma that still exists in our communities. We don't talk about this. We don't talk about in the schools. Sometimes we don't talk about it in the churches. It has been an aspect of sometimes a homophobia, that we don't address this issue as clearly as it needs to be.
But whatever points Obama gets for that line should be undone by the exchange that followed moments later. When Joe Biden talked about overcoming the stigma of being tested for AIDS ("I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS. There's no shame in being tested for AIDS"), Obama interjected that he got tested with his wife:
Barack Obama: Tavis, I just got to make clear that I got tested with Michelle when we were in Kenya in Africa, so I don't want any confusion here about what's going on.
Joe Biden: Well, I got tested to save my life because I had a blood transfusion.
Barack Obama: I was tested with my wife.
Tavis Smiley: And I'm sure Michelle appreciates you clarifying that.
Barack Obama: In public.
So while he's all for combating homophobia within the African American community, it seems he also doesn't want anyone to get the impression that he's on the down-low.
Sounds to me like Obama wanted to make it clear to the audience that he wasn't being tested for AIDS because of an extra-marital affair (gay or straight) and not because he's in the closet. As far as playing politics goes, he didn't. Not on that question. He asserted his monogamy (points) but also asserted his tolerance for gay people (fewer points). The black community lines up, I think, more closely on this issue with John Edwards, who is both a devoted husband and also uncomfortable with homosexuals. Not, of course, that this is a good trait of his, or has anything to do with who Edwards can count on getting votes from. I just think Obama's getting a bad rap here.