Commentary: Conservative Attacks on Obama Could Backfire

The following is a commentary by ABC News' Sam Donaldson. Click here to view a video version of Sam's latest essay

This is the day "of the long knives" for Barack Obama — hit from two disparate quarters in an election campaign that is too long and is quickly getting too nasty.

First came Karl Rove, President Bush's former political guru, who told a breakfast group of Washington Republican insiders yesterday that Obama is "coolly arrogant."

"Even if you never met him," Rove said, "You know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."


So, Obama is now arrogant. Although after hearing Rove's description, some voters might say, "Hurray for Obama, you know, I'd like to go to the country club with a beautiful date and drink someone else's martinis."

As for Dr. James Dobson, who is the founder of the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family: Dr. Dobson says Barack Obama is pushing "a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution,because in supporting abortion rights, he wants to govern by "the lowest common denominator of morality."

The image of martinis with fruitcake comes to mind … but I digress.

And Dobson says in a 2006 speech on religion, Obama dragged "biblical understanding through the gutter."

Dobson's associate, Tom Minnery, complains that in that speech, Obama said "we are no longer just a Christian nation … we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers."

Minnery is clearly furious about that, responding that 76 percent of people identify themselves as Christian in the United States and there is only six tenths of one percent who are Muslim. He accuses Obama of diminishing the idea that people of Christian faith have anything to say.

Wow — take that! On the other hand, the Dobson-Minnery tirade reminds me of the old politician who said of a newcomer he liked, "I'll be for you or against you, whichever will do you the most good."

Without intending to, the Focus on the Family folks may have helped Obama pick up a few votes.

Sam Donaldson, a 41-year ABC News veteran, served two appointments as chief White House correspondent for ABC News, from January 1998 to August 1999 and from 1977-1989, covering Presidents Carter, Reagan and Clinton. Donaldson also co-anchored, with Diane Sawyer, "PrimeTime Live," from August 1989 until it merged with "20/20" in 1999. He co-anchored the ABC News Sunday morning broadcast, "This Week With Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts," from December 1996 to September 2002. Currently, Sam Donaldson appears on ABC News Now, the ABC News digital network, in a daily show, "Politics Live."