Lawd, have mercy (emphasis mine):

As his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), campaigns for black votes, she often adopts a Southern twang she does not usually use in front of white audiences and is more likely to assail the Bush administration over its response to Hurricane Katrina — a particular frustration of many African Americans because that disaster struck majority-black New Orleans.

Obama, too, employs a slightly different style of speechmaking in front of black audiences, invoking, for example, a hypothetical “Cousin Pookie” in a speech in Selma, Ala., to talk about African Americans who do not vote. But while Obama has eschewed overt appeals to black voters, comparable to the way Hillary Clinton targets women with specific policy proposals, the substance of his remarks to African Americans, some Obama allies say, reflects an ability to speak about issues that a nonblack candidate probably could not have.

Why “Pookie” and not “Ray-Ray” or “Lil Man” or “Peanuts”? (Etc). Did “Pookie” test best with African-American focus groups? Or is the number of black people with cousins named Pookie who also vote Democratic statistically significant?

I don’t even know where to start here so I’ll just say that it’s going to be very interesting to watch Obama and Clinton court the black vote while convincing whites and others of their independence and arms-length approach. Very interesting indeed.

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