January 29, 2008
More on Obama and 'the G word'
Posted by: Andoni
Last week Obama reminded parishioners at Martin Luther King Jr.'s Ebenezer Baptist Church that African Americans have not always been kind to their gay and lesbian brothers. Is Obama simply a good actor, or does he really have an internal compass that includes gays and lesbians?
I believe I have my answer. In his speech at American University yesterday accepting Sen. Edward Kennedy's endorsement, Obama again included gays and lesbians in his remarks. However, in reviewing the published text of his speech to see exactly how he said it, I was astonished to discover that the text as prepared for the teleprompter did not include "the G word." And yet without batting an eye, when Obama came to that portion of the speech that enumerated various groups of Americans, he intuitively realized gays and lesbians were missing and without a pause, he ad libbed and added our community.
The text of his prepared remarks and a video of his speech are available here, with the ad-libbed portion about 10 minutes into the remarks. Here is the text as written for him:
And it lives on in those Americans –- young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian –- who are tired of a politics that divides us and want to recapture the sense of common purpose that we had when John Kennedy was president.
And here's what Obama actually said, with the ad-libbed addition highlighted:
And it lives on in those Americans – young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Latino and Asian, native American, gay and straight -- who are tired of a politics that divides us and want to recapture the sense of common purpose that we had when John Kennedy was president."
On the fly, in the middle of the pressure of a major speech, it came natural to him to include gays into a speech that wasn't written that way. This is just one simple example of gut level thinking that shows us a lot about Obama, the man -- that gay and lesbian people indeed are internalized in his core beliefs and we are indeed included in his plans for change.
(Photo of Obama at American University via New York Times/Damon Winter)
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