Politics

TheDC’s top 2012 stories, part 3: The ‘Race Politics’ edition

Photo of David Martosko
David Martosko
Executive Editor

Every day this week The Daily Caller invites you to relive two of our most compelling moments from 2012. These stories might have made you angry or gleeful, or maybe they led you to poke your spouse in the ribs and say, “See, I told you so!” (RELATED: Part 1: The ‘Obama administration off the rails’ edition)

But however you reacted, they met our number-one test for publication: They were interesting. (RELATED: Part 2: The ‘Animal Crackers’ edition)

Today we take a look at two stories that put racial politics front-and-center during President Barack Obama’s fourth year in office.

VIDEO: In heated ’07 speech, Obama lavishes praise on Wright, says feds ‘don’t care’ about New Orleans

In a story that attracted more reader comments than any other The Daily Caller published in 2012, we looked at a speech Barack Obama gave in Hampton, Virginia during the 2008 campaign. What made it most newsworthy was the fact that despite the spotlight-glare of a presidential campaign, no media had ever taken note of the future president’s controversial, race-tinted remarks:

“Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt twenty months later,” he begins, “there’s a law, federal law — when you get reconstruction money from the federal government — called the Stafford Act. And basically it says, when you get federal money, you gotta give a ten percent match. The local government’s gotta come up with ten percent. Every ten dollars the federal government comes up with, local government’s gotta give a dollar.”

“Now here’s the thing,” Obama continues, “when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, ‘This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars.’ And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, ‘Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family.’”

That’s not, Obama says, what is happening in majority-black New Orleans. “What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money?” Obama shouts, angry now. “Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!”

It’s a remarkable moment, and not just for its resemblance to Kayne West’s famous claim that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” but also because of its basic dishonesty. By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11.