From the NYT:
And the issue of race proved vexing. The campaign was blindsided when DVDs of the incendiary sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Mr. Obama’s former pastor, emerged and threatened Mr. Obama’s candidacy.
“That was one place where we dropped the ball,” said Mr. Axelrod, his voice growing angry. The campaign’s research operation had not known of the DVDs and was sent scrambling after they were broadcast. “The work just wasn’t done.”
The slip-up violated a key tenet of the campaign: to avoid discussions focused on race. From polling and interviews, the campaign concluded from the outset that it was imperative to define Mr. Obama’s candidacy in terms that would transcend skin color.“It would be difficult for an African-American to be elected president in this country,” said Cornell Belcher, a pollster who worked for Mr. Obama’s campaign and studies racial voting patterns. “However, it is not difficult for an extraordinary individual who happens to be African-American to be elected president.”
"Blindsided"??? I pointed out that Rev. Wright was going to be a problem for Obama 50 weeks beforehand.
The general cluelessness of America's white political elites regarding anything touching race is astounding. David Axelrod, who has been in Chicago politics for decades, running Daley's campaigns, didn't know that Obama's preacher, who runs a megachurch, sells his sermons online??? How could anyone imagine that Rev. Wright -- Rev. Wright -- wouldn't want to pocket some extra cash and edify humanity at the same time by peddling his graceful digitial presence? All you had to do was Google "Trinity United Church of Christ" and the DVDs were prominently displayed. (I wonder if any McCain aides ever even bought them?) I saw them on sale in early 2007.
And all this stuff about defining Obama as somebody who "just happens to be African-American" as if he's the second coming of former LA Mayor Tom Bradley ... Wasn't that dependent upon nobody important reading carefully his 460 page autobiography, My 25 Year Struggle to Define Myself as a Black Man? Granted, practically nobody did, so it worked, but still ...
What this shows once again is that Everybody Drinks Their Own Kool-Aid. I'd like to imagine David Axelrod as a mastermind cynically manipulating the media, because at least it would show that somebody who is pulling the strings has a brain. But this revelation that Axelrod was completely clueless about Rev. Wright just reveals that the first person these guys brainwash is themselves. Instead of some evil genius pulling the strings, there are just a bunch of guys yanking their own chains before they can yank ours.