RNC Calls Obama a Former “Street Organizer”

By Kelly Moeller

Jun 6, 2008 12:51pm

The Republican National Committee’s new video about Sen. Barack Obama describes the former community organizer, who worked in the 1980s with churches and depressed areas of Chicago to provide job training and other projects, as a "street organizer."

"Street organizer"?

The word choice has some on the Left up in arms.

Over at The Nation, Chris Hayes writes, "Nice. Frankly, in order to elicit the maximum degree of racial stereotyping I would have gone with ‘ghetto operative’ or ‘slum captain’ but I suppose that would have been too obvious."

Says Matthew Yglesias, "Stay classy, RNC!"

I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure "street organizer" was the job description of Superfly.

- jpt

UPDATE: The RNC notes that Obama was referred to as a "street organizer" in a February 15, 2007, Chicago Sun-Times story that apparently aroused no liberal ire at the time: "Only in the world of politics, Michelle Obama said, after she highlighted Obama’s resume — from street organizer to the Illinois Senate — ‘would insiders dare to look at those accomplishments and dare to have the audacity to say he is not ready.’"

UPDATE II: An event better retort from the RNC. On Obama’s own website, campaign staffers have posted a New York Times story that quotes an Illinois state senator saying, "I remember (Democratic state sen.)Rickey (Hendon) chiding Obama that, ‘What do you know, Barack? You grew up in Hawaii and you live in Hyde Park. What do you know about the street?’ To which Obama shot back: ‘I know a lot. I didn’t exactly have a rosy childhood. I’m a street organizer by profession and a lot of my area, once you get outside the University of Chicago neighborhoods, is just as tough as your West Side, Rickey.’ "

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