Obama snubs Black Caucus

Senator Barack Obama has apparently failed to host a fundraiser or otherwise generate funds to support the PAC run by the Congressional Black Caucus. Alexander Bolton writes in The Hill,   

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has failed to raise money for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) even though it has been a year since he was asked to, and his main rival for the Democratic presidential nomination has done so, CBC members say.

CBC leaders asked Obama to hold a fundraiser for the caucus's political action committee (PAC) a year ago but they have slim hopes that he will come through for them.

Of course, most members of the CBC come from safe seats in majority-black districts. As Bolton notes,

"I think it's an important gesture," said CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), who has not yet endorsed any candidate in the primary. "I think he should have done it. I do understand he's now in the thick of what he's doing and I find that unfortunate.

"Certainly he's been fundraising all over the country for various people and I just wish he would also help the CBC because we have members all over. I think it would have been a benefit to him as well as to the CBC."

Kilpatrick said CBC members represent about 40 million people in 26 states; 10 caucus members represent districts that are not majority African-American and thus could face competitive races in the future.

The CBC PAC offers some support to new black candidates for office. Obama himself received $10,000 when running for the Senate.

I suppose that if the CBC makes an issue of it, Obama can always host a fundraiser over the next year or so. Certainly he will have plenty of maxed-out donors who could pony up for the CBC PAC. But he may wish to keep a certain distance from the fairly radical positions of the CBC.

This situation underscores the tricky balancing act Obama has ahead. He wants to maintain his status as beyond race, while avoiding enmity from an African-American establishment which has shown hesitancy to embrace immigrant blacks whos do not share the heritage of descent from American slaves. The fact that the Clinton Machine has plenty of allies and no scruples will not be helpful.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky