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Morning Jay: Why Did Biden Play the Race Card?

6:00 AM, Aug 17, 2012 • By JAY COST
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Perhaps the historical lesson comes from the James Byrd Jr. ad the NAACP ran against George W. Bush in 2000. Bill Clinton was once commemorated as the “first black president,” but he nevertheless signed two major pieces of legislation that were met with mixed-to-negative reactions in the black community, welfare reform and the crime bill. Meanwhile, George W. Bush was actively courting black pastors in the hopes of raising the GOP vote among African Americans in the key swing states. Enter the NAACP Voter Fund, which picked a fight over hate crimes legislation thanks to two highly incendiary ads against the then-Texas governor.

And on Election Day 2000 Al Gore won 91 percent of the two-party vote from African Americans, compared to 88 percent by Bill Clinton four years prior.

Jay Cost is a staff writer for THE WEEKLY STANDARD and the author of Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, available now wherever books are sold.

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