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June 29, 2007

Comments

Kate

No -- the point is that even when he says we need to battle stigma, he feels the need to clarify why he got an HIV test so no one thinks he did something wrong. It's no one's business why anyone gets an HIV test. A much better response would have been, "I went to Africa and my wife and I got tested for HIV together, to prove there's no shame in getting tested, and everyone should do it."

JimPortlandOR

I'm with ya, Kate. I thought Obama's second response was more than a little ambiguous and unhelpful. Why does being tested with your spouse appear to Obama to be a better reason than being tested alone? Brian is correct that the answer could be that alone might imply an straight affair or fling, or a gay one - neither of which he wants to associate with, understandably, I guess.

In reality, if he or his spouse HAD an outside-the-marriage sex contact - and they had an open dialogue about this (a laudable thing), then both of them should be tested. Both of them being tested proves nothing about either's sex life.

But he came across, to me, to be guarding against 'teh gay' implication - and it undercut his point about black community hidden homophobia (which isn't so hidden, as Obama seemed to display, actually). A curious performance, and his animated reaction smelled of overreaction.

Brian

Possibly... I didn't see the performance, only read the transcripts.

Look, Obama's got good command, but he isn't perfect. And while it's possible to imagine a million better clarifications here, his impulse to be defensive--to avoid having to fend off insinuations about an affair for weeks--is understandable. It's shameful that candidates have to worry about this stuff... but they do.

It seems especially forgivable given that you guys are making a somewhat different point. It doesn't read to me like Obama was being homophobic, but even if he was that's a bit different than saying that HIV testing should be a matter of shame. In fact, the whole episode was presaged by Biden saying: "What is the plan to stop and to protect these young people from this scourge? I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS. There's no shame in being tested for AIDS. It's an important thing."

Obama didn't dispute Biden at all. It sounded to me like he wanted the studio and TV audiences to know that he got tested outwardly, with pride--not in a secret way that he was hiding from his wife.

That's all!

JMC

Nuh uh. We must think, in the era of the Drudge Report, the unscrupulous Fox News, and the lazy rest of the cable news networks squawking about this.

Imagine with me....

Drudge: OBAMA HAS AIDS???

Fox: a prominent blogger questions if indeed, Obama was tested for or has AIDS, a disease primarily found among homosexuals and African-Americans...


CNN: Several news networks are discussing that Obama is a homosexual and is trying to hide his infection with HIV, Wolf Blitzer will be talking to Magic Johnson later on...

Everybody knows that the slightest slip (a shrill scream, saying that you voted for or against something, wearing a tank helmet that is too big) can destroy a perfectly good candidacy.

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