Obama Comes Face-to-Face with Race Question

By Nitya

Jan 23, 2008 1:59pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller Reports: Three days out before the South Carolina primary and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama is still facing doubts that an African-American can win the general election.

During a town hall in Rock Hill, S.C., a woman told Obama her 77-year-old African-American father is still undecided because he "just doesn’t think a black man can win."

Obama used his Senate win in Illinois, a Midwestern state whose population is 70 percent white, as evidence he can win an election, saying the color of a candidate’s skin matters less than their goals.

"If I came to you and I had polka dots – but you were convinced I was going to put more money in our pockets, and help you pay for college and help keep America safe, you’d say, ‘OK. You know, I wish you didn’t have polka dots, but I’m still voting for him.’ I’m convinced of that."

Obama continued, saying that part of leadership is breaking though barriers, "I don’t want to perpetuate this notion in our kids that there is a limit to their dreams. So tell your father that he’s gotta be thinking, making sure he’s not passing on that mindset to his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren."

The importance of South Carolina  — and the African-American vote within the state — is important to to Obama’s presidential run. Last week in Nevada, he addressed the doubt some African-Americans may still be having at a Martin Luther King Jr. dinner.

"I understand that many of you are still a little skeptical. You’re not as skeptical as you were before Iowa…he stopped himself short before he continued, "Sometimes it takes other folks before we believe in ourselves."

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