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Reporter: McCain Played Race Card Defending Himself Against Obama Accusation

Can't win alert: According to Michael Powell, when the McCain camp accused Barack Obama of playing the race card, it was itself playing the race card.

About 10 minutes into the Times' "Political Points" podcast of August 7, reporter Michael Powell surveyed the recent back and forth between Barack Obama and John McCain over race and politely suggested that by accusing Barack Obama of playing the race card, the McCain camp was....playing the race card (emphasis added by Powell himself):



I was intrigued by how long the McCain campaign kept yapping about this; that was the, I will say, sort of put a question mark, at least in the back of my head. I understood the - let's assume that it was genuine kind of anger at what they felt was the way that Obama was doing this, that you would respond to and you would respond to it hard. They kept responding hard for quite some time. And I think that what you see, and then, that's what makes this so complicated, is that there's both, perhaps, a very real and passionate response. There's also the very real calculus that race roils this country in all sorts of ways, and its not just because McCain may have been done badly by this doesn't mean that they don't also see some way of taking advantage of it. And I should say that plays out the other way as well.



In an August 2 front-page story, Powell weirdly claimed the McCain camp had ignited the race "furor," even though it was Obama who first brought up the issue when he accused Republicans, without evidence, of trying to scare voters by pointing out that he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."