Jack Turner passed this to me to talk about and both he and rikyrah have written to The Fix’s Chris Cilliza at WaPo to get him straight on this story. Cilliza seems confused about why African-American voters have turned away from the Clintons, why their brand with us has collapsed so hard so fast. He puts it on Obama’s South Carolina win. We’d like Cilliza to take a good long jog through Jack and Jill Politics, especially the comments from you. And then he might swing on over to our Clinton Attacks Obama wiki which has over 50 examples of Clinton campaign race-bating contributed by JJP readers. Iowa was the big turning point for many African-Americans when a lot of us thought wow, if he can win there in that almost-all-white state, maybe he can really go all the way. Maybe the brother’s got game.

Here’s an excerpt:

New polling conducted by Gallup shows that the Clintons have much work to do — particularly in the black community.

In the survey, which was conducted in late May and early June, 58 percent of black voters felt favorably inclined toward Clinton while 36 percent felt unfavorably. Compare that to to her ratings just one year ago in Gallup polling — an 84 percent favorable rating among African Americans compared to a minuscule 10 percent unfavorable.

That trend is confirmed in the Post’s own polling. In a survey conducted in mid-April, Clinton’s fav/unfav among black voters was 68/32, a steady decline from a Post poll in January (81/17) and a far cry from where her numbers stood in February 2007 among black voters (85/11).

More striking even than the overall numbers were the intensity measures. Back in February of last year, 53 percent of black voters felt “strongly” favorable about Clinton while just five percent felt strongly unfavorable toward her. In the April survey, roughly half as many black voters (27 percent) described their feelings toward Clinton as strongly favorable while more than triple (17 percent) said they felt strongly unfavorably to her.

The approval numbers for former President Bill Clinton followed a similar downward pattern. In February 2007, 86 percent of black voters viewed the former president favorably while just 13 percent saw him in an unfavorable light. By April 2008, 67 percent of black voters felt favorably toward Bill Clinton while 32 percent described their feelings as unfavorable toward the former chief executive.

The slippage is remarkable given that, going into this presidential race, black voters were expected to form one of the main pillars of Clinton’s support. Bill Clinton enjoyed warm relations with the black community throughout his presidency and was famously described by author Toni Morrison thusly in a 1998 New Yorker piece: “White skin notwithstanding, this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime.”

Well, Toni was wrong about that. Looks like a blacker president might be elected in our lifetime not just our children’s.

BTW, I watched Hillary’s speech today. Did you? Saying Barack Obama’s name seemed really painful for her. It was clearly a tough speech for her to give. I thought back to the first days of the campaign when I was leaning her direction. Obama was an unknown untested quality. Like 84% of African-Americans, I had a very favorable view of the Clintons. They honestly broke my heart with the desperate, do-anything campaign strategy. And as usual, blacks for the most part weren’t fooled. She threw us under the bus. I don’t know that I’ll ever see either of them the same way.

Still a big part of me is proud of her from stepping out of the helpmate, woman-behind-the-man role she’s played for so long to claim victory after victory as senator and then presidential candidate. She’s absolutely right when she says that the glass ceiling has 18 million cracks in it because of her. She’s a warrior who never gave up and gave it all she had. I do sort of admire her for that. She’s right that her candidacy is historic and will open doors for women coming after her. Little girls saw her run, saw her go toe-to-toe and best all the men in her path — save one. To be generous, I hope that Hillary Clinton will be seen as a fearless pioneer, even if her legacy and that of Bill Clinton will require major repair, especially among black folks and within the Democratic party at large for some time to come.

I hope that she is sincere in her pledged words of “Yes We Can!” to help Obama get elected in the general election. And isn’t that what ultimately distinguished her campaign from his.

Her catchphrase was “I’m in it to win it.” From beginning to bitter end: it was all about her. Obama’s phrase “Yes We Can” –> that’s all about us, y’all. Now that a major obstacle is out of our way — On to the White House!

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