Some further thoughts. Visceral hate of Tim Russert seems to have protected Obama from the weakness of his Farrakhan answer. Josh Marshall says it was Russert's lowest moment:
As a Jew and perhaps more importantly simply as a sentient being I found it disgusting. It was a nationwide, televised, MSM version of one of those noxious Obama smear emails.
Matt makes a similar point:
The way Russert handled the Louis Farrakhan issue was, I thought, pretty egregious but about what I expect from him. Clinton's classless handling of the aftermath was also about what I expect from her at this point.
Marc sees fault in Obama's answer but blames the circumstances:
There are some things you just don’t do in American politics: calling Farrakhan “minister Farrakhan” is one of them. He’s been declared persona non grata by everyone in the mainstream of our politics. It seemed to take badgering by Clinton for Obama to reject it explicitly (although he did not embrace it and had distanced himself from it before). I don't think Obama's at fault here. I think the circumstances conspired against him, but it just didn't sound right.
Joe Klein thinks Obama barely saved himself:
Bad moment by Obama, later redeemed. Russert asked if he rejected Farrakhan's support. Obama said he denounced Farrakhan's antisemitism--which was to say, I don't like him but I won't kick away his (or the Nation of Islam's) support. Incredibly, Clinton saved him by mentioning that she had rejected the support of an anti-semitic fringe group in 2000. He responded brilliantly, "I would reject and denounce." There is a growing, despicable movement to denounce and defame Obama among right-wing Jews and this would have given them ammunition. He escaped, narrowly.
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