[Guest post by DRJ]
Lynn Sweet reports that Barack Obama’s campaign team plans to “smother diehard Clinton backers with respect” in the early days of the Democratic National Convention, but someone forgot to send the memo to Obama’s mentor and retiring Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones:
“A black Hillary Clinton delegate on Sunday accused state Senate President Emil Jones of calling her an “Uncle Tom.”
Jones — Barack Obama’s political mentor — denied using the racially loaded slur against Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb, but two aldermen who said they witnessed the Saturday night exchange back up Cobb’s account.”
The details of the conversation are halfway down at this link. My favorite part is when Cobb said Jones and 35,000 other Obama supporters at Springfield Saturday “drank the Kool-Aid.” Shortly after that is when Cobb said Jones called her an Uncle Tom.
Jones “emphatically” denied making the statement but one of the aldermen present, Freddrenna Lyle, later said “Emil, that’s bad even for you.” Another claimed Jones’ statement was made in jest. However, Cobb got in a parting shot when she responded that Jones was the ‘Uncle Tom’ because his close relationship with Mayor Daley and Gov. Blagojevich.
Cobb’s incident illustrates the reported rifts between Obama and Clinton partisans:
“Cobb has been a high-profile Clinton supporter, and she said she is still paying the price in the African-American community.
“If people are still making digs at the Hillary Clinton people because we supported her, that is not going to bring us on board. It makes us feel as though we’re outsiders, and we’re Democrats,” Cobb said. “The litmus test for being black is [seen as] supporting Barack.”
Cobb said she saw Clinton supporters walking into an Illinois delegation meeting at the Marlowe Restaurant on Sunday and being handed Obama buttons, only to put the buttons in their pockets. That prompted the greeters to say, “You can tell the Hillary Clinton people, they never take the buttons.”
Barack Obama campaigned on the theme of unifying America and healing our partisan divisions. Now it looks like he’ll be fortunate to heal the divisions in his own Party.