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Politics of race ensnare Democrats

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Another factor that may have affected black opinion could be Obama's victory in the Iowa caucuses – a largely white state. In the past, many African-Americans had stated a reluctance to support Obama because they felt that the country wasn't ready to elect a black president. Obama also looks strong heading into the South Carolina primary on Jan. 26, where nearly half the Democratic electorate is black, and could do well in the Nevada caucuses this Saturday, especially after winning the endorsement of the state's most powerful union, the culinary workers.

"I think they [the Clintons] have lost some goodwill among the black community over what happened," says David Bositis, an expert on the black vote at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington. "The question is, how bad is it?"

The next question is, why would Clinton and her husband, the ex-president, deliberately appear to go after Obama in a way that targeted him racially, implying, for example, that Obama was comparing himself to Dr. King. While campaigning in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton described herself as representing "the real change," and derided Obama's message of hope as raising "false hopes."

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