CNN’s Martin: Obama Should Emphasize His Liberal Record

NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterCNN contributor Roland Martin, commenting on the results of Super Tuesday on Wednesday’s "American Morning," advised Barack Obama to indirectly play-up his liberal credentials in order to do better in upcoming caucuses and primaries. One such item was Obama’s visible support of the pro-illegal immigration marches in 2007. "[H]e has to be able to take the Hispanic supporters and say, look, this is a guy who we are behind.... [H]e did make the point that he was only one of two U.S. senators who actually marched in many of those immigration marches around the country. People probably forget that. If you don't make the point, they don't know."

Earlier in the segment, which started 45 minutes into the 6 am hour, Martin, who appeared with "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, detailed some of the problems Obama might face in the future. "But the problem is this -- in every Democratic primary, women have made up about 57 plus percent of all voters in various primaries. That is a critical voting block, and so, he has to be able to really grab a lion's share." This prompted the question from Roberts, "As we saw in many of the states across the country last night -- the Super Tuesday races, with the exception of Illinois, she won the majority of the Hispanic vote as well. How much of a problem for that?"

Martin first brought up Obama’s past working in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago. "I think part of the problem here, and I think when it comes to Hispanics, but also dealing with low income voters, is that Obama does not focus more on the community organizing days. If you actually listen to Michelle Obama's speech on Sunday in Los Angeles and UCLA, that's actually the speech that he should be giving. She talked about going to public schools. She talked about being out there, working with steel workers, working in public housing complexes."

What Martin said immediately afterwards concerning Obama is puzzling, given Hillary Clinton’s own "privileged" background of going to Wellesley and Yale Law School. "[T]he perception is that he is a candidate that went to Harvard University, you know, University of Chicago, Constitutional Law professor. But he has to be able to connect with people saying -- wait a minute, I'm there with you. My mom was on food stamps. I understand what it felt like from being a single parent household. He has to make that case better."

The full transcript of the segment from Wednesday’s "American Morning:"

JOHN ROBERTS: 45 minutes after the hour. Barack Obama is still playing the role of underdog. But after last night, there is a new feeling of momentum. Here's what he told supporters last night.

BARACK OBAMA: In states north and south, east and west, what began as a whisper in Springfield has swelled to a chorus of millions calling for change.

ROBERTS: Well, at least 13 out of 22 states went to Obama last night. Roland Martin is a CNN contributor, who is watching all the returns come in late last night.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Just a couple of hours ago.

ROBERTS: You had a couple of hours sleep, maybe 90 minutes worth. He joins us this morning. So last night was a pretty interesting night to watch. Hillary Clinton -- and if you look at, say, the results from California, she is still strong among white women, older Americans, lower income earners, but Barack Obama beginning to gain in white men. How important is that for you?

MARTIN: Well, that is critical, because he is to be able to put together this sort of coalition building -- that is a pieces from this group, this group, and this group. But the problem is this -- in every Democratic primary, women have made up about 57 plus percent of all voters in various primaries. That is a critical voting block, and so, he has to be able to really grab a lion's share, anywhere from 30 to 35. Look, she's maybe over 40. She's probably going to pick up 70. But any time she gets over 72, that's a problem in any state.

ROBERTS: As we saw in many of the states across the country last night -- the Super Tuesday races, with the exception of Illinois, she won the majority of the Hispanic vote as well. How much of a problem for that? Where's that exactly going to be going for?

MARTIN: The problem is Texas. That's where you probably had the largest group remaining over all the primary states. And so, he must do real well. I think part of the problem here, and I think when it comes to Hispanics, but also dealing with low income voters, is that Obama does not focus more on the community organizing days. If you actually listen to Michelle Obama's speech on Sunday in Los Angeles and UCLA, that's actually the speech that he should be giving. She talked about going to public schools. She talked about being out there, working with steel workers, working in public housing complexes, because the perception is that he is a candidate that went to Harvard University, you know, University of Chicago, Constitutional Law professor.

But he has to be able to connect with people saying -- wait a minute, I'm there with you. My mom was on food stamps. I understand what it felt like from being a single parent household. He has to make that case better. She's doing extremely well. She's going to stay on message and to focus on those folks.

ROBERTS: So that's lower income. Why is she doing better with Hispanics?

MARTIN: Well, I think because of Bill Clinton is hugely popular. I talked to Paul Begala last night. I talked about when he went down to Texas and then went down to the various barrios, and went to Corpus Christi and Brownsville, and so, you have that unique relationship, but you're also cannot deny the reality of this black-brown friction that we have seen take place across the various states. And I was debating someone here at CNN about this, saying -- look, I'm born and raised in Houston, Texas. I covered stuff in Dallas and Austin. I've seen it since 1989, coming out while I was still in college. That is real. And so, he has to be able to take the Hispanic supporters and say, look, this is a guy who we are behind. Also, we did do a debate, John, he did make the point that he was only one of two U.S. senators who actually marched in many of those immigration marches around the country. People probably forget that. If you don't make the point, they don't know.

ROBERTS: So, how important was her win in California to blunting the momentum that he was beginning to build up. And then look like the last-minute polls in California were dead wrong. They had just about an even race. She beat him pretty handily.

MARTIN: Well, but he's the deal with the last-minute polling, which you don't take into consideration. One-third of all ballots cast were early voting. And so, they really started right after New Hampshire. She did a real welcoming after that. The problem now moving forward is now more folks know who he is, but she did very well. That was a critical strategy for her to get those early ballots, because she saw him coming down the back stretch towards the end of the campaign.Probably one more week, he could have been able to generate the number of people, but you have half a million people vote early, it's difficult to overcome a double digit lead.

ROBERTS: Well, they're still very close in delegates and we got a long way to go.

MARTINS: That's right. So all of a sudden, Vermont, those votes are going to be real pretty for those delegates.

ROBERTS: Exactly. Howard Dean loves that. Roland, thanks very much. Good to see you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center