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April 27th, 2011
04:17 PM ET

PBS host Smiley: 2012 pres. race will be 'ugliest,' 'most racist' in history. Is he right?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The 2012 presidential race is coming, probably a lot sooner than most of us would like. And when it gets here and gets going full bore, it has the potential to be one ugly contest. As a nation we have seldom been more divided, and the division comes at a time when we can ill afford it. Our problems are huge, threatening our very way of life. We can't afford to remain so divided. But there are no indications things are going to change anytime soon.

Tavis Smiley
Tavis Smiley

In an interview on MSNBC, PBS Host Tavis Smiley said the 2012 presidential race is "going to be the ugliest, the nastiest, the most divisive, and the most racist in the history of this Republic."

Smiley says it's because some members of the Tea Party in particular are willing to do anything and say anything to make sure President Obama is not re-elected. He points to the renewed interest in the birther movement and all the attention Donald Trump has received for questioning the president's birthplace, his ability to get into college and law school and calling him the worst president ever. Smiley also points to the fanaticism at some Tea Party rallies where members have showed up carrying guns.

There is a general nastiness in the tone of our dialogue in this country that didn't used to be there. Tavis Smiley says Americans have to rediscover civility. Of course he's right, but we seem to be going in the opposite direction. And when the stakes are as high as they are in a presidential election, a "win at all costs" mentality seems to take over.

Here’s my question to you: PBS host Tavis Smiley predicts the 2012 presidential race will be the ugliest and most racist in our history. Is he right?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Balboa from Huntsville, Alabama

    Tornado sirens are going off in Alabama right now Jack. I have to take shelter now but the 2012 President election I believe will be the ugliest that perhaps has ever existed in the history of the United States of America.

    April 27, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  2. Travetta

    Absolutely, the GOP, and the ugly minded tea partiers spew nothing but hatred for the country which orignated as a melting pots of races in the first place the 1960s has re-emerged.

    South Carolina

    April 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  3. JENNA ROSEVILLE CA

    PBS host Tavis Smiley predicts the 2012 presidential race will be the ugliest and most racist in our history. Is he right?

    More so than the last presidential race? God I hope not! I thought this was 2011 not 1964. Race has no place in America.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  4. Jane (Minnesota)

    Sadly, it will be I'm afraid and it started January 20, 2009, Jack. It pretty plain to see there's a large slice of American that are closet bigots and they've found a loudspeaker in Donald Trump. Heaven help us all.

    April 27, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
  5. Conor in Chicago

    Yes. And I would also add the term "bloodiest" to that list. It's going to get out of hand and you know who's going to cause it all....

    April 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Russ in PA

    And why would he think so? Because there are candidates that want to return us to a true free market system? That can't be it, because the black community did much better in such a system before politicians introduced Davis-Bacon and so many other restrictive regulations.

    Perhaps he is worried that Obama will be the racist?

    April 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  7. Mark

    Jack,

    Duh!...It already is...and it's only going to get much worse until election day. There hasn't been this much racial tension within the United States government since the Civil War. Maybe this is what they meant by "the South will rise again."

    Mark
    New Orleans, LA

    April 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  8. Dave

    Is there anything pretty about poltices. They all seem to think it is all about themselfs, both parties. Where in the constitution does it say we the democrates or we the republicans. Maybe Ron Paul should Strart a new pary if he wants to win Americans for America

    April 27, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  9. John K.

    Yes and no. It will be the ugliest, but probably not the most racist. The Citizen's United ruling has set the stage for an unprecedented amount of outside spending in the election, which will make the fall (and possibly the summer as well) absolutely unbearable for the average voter, with negative ads pounding the airwaves. Carl Rove's group spent millions last year in an offyear election- just imagine what they'll do when they have the chance to unseat Obama, who himself is attempting to raise $1 billion in an attempt to balance the scales. 2012 will be ugly because of how much money is involved.

    As for race, I doubt it. Independents don't like to see overt examples of racism, and Obama is already in office. There might be examples on the fringe, but it seems that we were more likely to see out-and-out racism in 2008 than we are in 2012.

    John K.
    Shelton, WA
    (Currently in Dublin, Ireland)

    April 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  10. joseph j cencioni

    just another progressive ploy, the media has been infatuated with obama and will not print or say anything without first determining if it will be vote positive or negative.....thats what cronies do.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  11. Kuot

    Jack, i think it's a personal opinion aimed at diverting voters' attention from voting for policies and immediate challenges facing the country and the world. Such predictions are mere distractions and shouldn't be given any attention.
    Kuot.
    Toronto.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  12. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I liken this next presidential race to a three ring circus. Unfortunately who ever walks away as the victor will also be the one with the shovel and pail cleaning up after two failed presidencies before them. Good luck with that mess.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  13. Simon/Orlando

    It will be called that by the Democrates when Obama loses the election because they can't face up to the fact that he is just incompetent.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  14. Joyce Fesmire

    I think Tavis is right about the upcoming election but it can't be more rediculus than the election in 2000. Remember that the state of Florida had to get the Supreme court involved because of the (hanging chads) issue. Think about it. Any 2nd or 3rd grader could tell if a hole was punched in a piece of paper.
    Joyce in Lexington, Tn 38351

    April 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Thanks to the tea party loons, Obama’s administration has had to suffer these most racist and ugliest of fools already. But that doesn’t let him off the hook for 100% broken promises, ineffective administration and counter-productive policies. So I agree it already is.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  16. D - Atlanta

    Absolutely, and I don't agree with Tavis much lately. For anyone that had an issue with the birth certificat­e previously scrutinize­d prior to his run for office and subsequent­ly released, this will not satisfy them. NOTHING will satisfy them. They can not and will not tolerate President Obama (aka a black man) holding the office. I hope the White House does not now fold and start showing his academic records. Never in the history of this country has so much proof been requested to prove a candidate IS who he says he is. The 2012 race for the White House is going to be brutal with a lot of "not so hidden" racism.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Aimable.G

    for sure..just look at the birther issue ..What i like with this is that Obama always comes out as the intelligent one!..thats the way to defeat arrogant people like DONALD TRASH (Donald trump)......and the likes.....We need more people like President Obama

    April 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  18. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    Judging from their sorry field of candidates, the Republicans will probably feel they have to appeal to fear and barely disguised racism.
    However, the election will also be an opportunity for the U. S. to reject these factors which have haunted the country throughout its history.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  19. Bill

    The 2012 presidential election will be more racist than even the 2008 presidential election was. That is unfortunate. It is difficult enough to see the issues.

    Bill Portales, NM

    April 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    Possibly.

    The problem is, with a black in the WH, any and everyone who is black, will consider that any and everyone, who opposes him, is racist.

    That, of course, is pure BS, but it is entirely likely to happen that way.

    In truth, those who oppose Obama, mostly oppose his policies, and his runaway spending.......and with good reason. He has failed to end the wars, he has failed to create jobs, he has failed to turn around the economy, and he has squandered hundreds of billions of tax dollars.

    Being a nice, articulate, guy.......simply isn't enough, in the WH. You have to create results.

    So.........they will say everyone is racist, and little of it will be true.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  21. Annie, Atlanta

    If the last two years of "Obama's not one of us" and "I want my country back" are indications, sadly he's right. Good God we humans can be ugly. And nobody does ugly better than the GOP when they're out to win (or buy) elections. Eventually the incivility is going to be too much for us to survive intact.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  22. Joe R - Houston

    I think it depends on what the mainstream media believes will bring in the biggest audience. Race baiting is good for ratings even if you have to invent it.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  23. Joe in Missouri

    Probably.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  24. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Why does PBS and most other "news" organizations for that matter constantly try to incite controversy? Why can't anyone be opposed to Obama and not be a racist? I am tired of this silliness. It detracts from the real issues which always seem to get a pass. We are at a critical juncture in our history and we need to decide if we think the Soviet Union model will work for us, since that's the direction we are going economically or if we really believe in capitalism and free markets anymore. We need to decide if leading from behind and cheerleading regime changes in the Middle East is a good demonstration of America watching out for our best interests. We need to decide if we believe magic new/old energy sources are going to defy reality and become our primary source of energy even though this path is reducing the American quality of life and driving jobs overseas. All that seems to matter to the people with microphones is birth certificates and injecting racism into any opposing arguement. Forget about our ballooning debt, millions on food stamps, unsustainable entitlements, the backroom healthcare boondoggle and unions strangling our sputtering economy, lets concentrate on why everyone who thinks Obama is diong a terrible job must be racist.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  25. Greg

    Yes, you can already see that. This whole birther thing is race based. Two years into his presidency, President Obama is having to release his full birth certificate to appease a bunch of racist morons. That is really sad.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  26. Elinor Bowles

    Come on. Of course he's right. How could it be otherwise? Never before has a candidate's race been a factor in a presidential election. Never have there been so many threats against a President's life. The signs are everywhere. Racism is deep and dangerous in he American psyche.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  27. David in Tampa

    Jack, While only time will tell, the 2012 election will most likely be one of the nastiest in the annals of this country. If not directly by the campaigns of the candidates, then by repugnant groups exercising their freedom of expression. Our political process has become so vile it makes me want to return my voter registration card, or at least cry out for inclusion of none of the above as an option on the ballot for all offices being contested races or those being sought in uncontested races. Frankly, I haven't seen anyone of either major party worth giving a nod to. Obama and the democrats deserve their fate, and the republicans keep coming up with cartoon characters to run for office. We the people, sir, are in a no win situation.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  28. Gordon NJ

    Yup! Dozens of states with Republican governors are passing new voter suppression laws that make it more difficult for young, poor, and elderly minority voters to assemble the necessary paperwork to register. In Texas you will be able to register to vote with a Gun permit as proof of ID, but not with a State University student ID. Republicans have created a fantasy that millions of illegal aliens are registering to vote. Think of it? If you were in the US illegally, would you risk everything to cast one vote? It's absurd.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  29. Tefera

    Jack, ofcourse it will be the ugliest presidential race in history. Almost from the race card to the issue that most americans care about. Good luck Obama!

    April 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  30. Mike McMahon

    It sure will be as long as you continue to make it so!

    April 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  31. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Unfortunately he is correct. People in politics want to make people afraid of things to get their votes and in most cases really don't understand that in the long run they are hurting our country. The sad thing is that these tactics work to get votes. The pen really is mighty than the sword.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  32. Paul From Austin Texas

    I think he just may be right although I hope and pray he is wrong. If it does turn out that way we will show the world just how two faced the U.S. can be.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  33. Carl

    Jack,

    When Obama loses, this is what his excuse will be, that people were racist. That's a load of crap. When you lie to the people that voted you in, start wars we can't afford, throw gas on the existing wars, then yes, your time is up. This Obama president is just like George Bush, worthless.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  34. Paul P.

    It's a possibility, the 2008 election sure wasn't a walk in the park and things haven't cooled down much since. But it doesn't have to be ugly if we don't want it to be, as there are enough critical issues and ammunition in Obama's 4 year track record that the GOP can run with, that there isn't any actual need for it to get personal. Still, these are politicians we're talking about....

    April 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  35. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Yes, it already looks like it is turning out that way. The president's birth certificate is a good example of what is yet to come. I think there is a lot of racist people behind behind the birth certificate on the republican side. If any one birth issue should be question it should be John McCain who was definitely born out of the United States. But not a peep was heard about that. Is it because he is a republican and white, I think it is. Just for the record for anyone who thinks this is another black man's opinion, it is not, it is a white man's opinion who is tired and sick to a stomach of all this crap.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  36. Steve< NY

    Never heard of Tavis Smiley. Don't know his credentials. He must be one of those self proclaimed experts. You must as well get somebody of the street and ask their opinin. Sounds like you're trying to stir up some controversy. Good Luck.

    April 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  37. Tony from Southport

    As long as Barack Hussein Obama is in any race, race will be THE issue. President Obama cannot run on his record because it's dismal. He must rely on his cohorts accusing others of being racist to cut them down in their tracks. He has been a failure as a President and a success at pointing his finger at others to cover up his incompetence. It won't be Republicans or Independents who will be using race in the 2012 elections, it will be Democrats.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  38. Cheryl in Bluffton, SC

    I hope not, Jack. This "Birther" nonsense is the worst kind of not-even-thinly-veiled racism. I hope that by proving the Birthers to be the liars and charlatans they are, President Obama will succeed in elevating the discourse. We are a better country than this!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  39. Patsy

    Jack, it has been the most racist two years of any Presidency
    ever, and he is right, it will get worse. Maybe not in words,
    but actions speak louder and the racist birthers and ignorant
    haters have found a leader in Donald Trump. You will not
    like this, nor, I suspect, let it go through, but what "I really
    think", is that Trump one of the most repulsive, abominate,
    repugnant, disgusting individuals I have ever seen in the
    circle of "politicians", and worse, he has an audience. This
    will drive the rhetoric to unmatched levels of lies, desperation
    and unfounded accusations during this campaign, and I
    truly believe the American people will reject it and put them
    in their place November, 2012 if not sooner.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  40. Richard A. Mathews

    Ron Paul's Vision for America's future precludes him from winning the GOP nominations as greatly as does that of former Governor Johnson. America's has already voted against the type of significant change either GOP leaders continues to profess.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  41. Ed from California

    What is it right now!! Birth Cert, test scores, Affirmative action and Harvard Law school, born in America. Very raciest so far. We need to stir up the Red states! Get the mouth-breathes all fired up.Jack, where was Mc Cain born?? The Koch-plicans need to win. It isnt going to matter. Pres Obama is in. All the Haters are destroying their own jobs. With, privitizing medicare, social security and medicaid. These fringe Kochplicans will all be gone in the next cycle. If not, I'll wash and wax your car, Jack....for a year!!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  42. Gary H. Boyd

    There's little doubt Barack Hussein Obama is not the same guy he was while running in 2008 on a platform of CHANGE. Reality has set in for many who voted for him and in 2012 he will be viewed far differently. I don't see race being a factor as much as simple competence to handle the job. His willingness to apologize to the world for what he sees as America's past transgressions has many asking serious questions about his leadership. If the Republicans field a candidate of substance, it will certainly be a lively election.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  43. Bradley, Portland, OR

    It's already happening.

    The way people have been hanging onto all this Birther nonsense for years now, despite it being disproven over and over again, tells you that people aren't acting rationally when it comes to the first black president.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  44. lou

    I think he may be right and it probably has a lot to do with Obama releasing his birth certificate (again) this early. Maybe it will help tap down some of the crazy before the real campaign heats up.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  45. Bob D Iowa

    Racist maybe but the ugliness started as soon as the election results were in. Here in Iowa it has been downright ridiculous, the state needs jobs the state needs it’s economy moving and we get social issues. Every GOP Presidential Contender (Pretender) meets with the Christian Taliban movement we have here that in fully funded from southern money to kiss their ars. We are talking a hand full of individuals that are so extreme right that the GOP just denounced some of their legislation to have the Iowa Supreme Court Judges Impeached. They have spent the full session not on jobs or creating a business environment or this year’s budget but Same Sex Marriage, Give a Gun to a Psycho, Anti-Abortion and A Self-defense bill that Legalized the Murder of Abortion Doctors. OK Iowa is the first state to caucus but why to we have to have these nut cases running around loss keep them in Washington.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  46. Gerry

    Politics is not for the timid and as predicted this next election should be quite a horse race. With past elections bordering on the politically correct this one I hope will be a bare knuckle brawl. Its time the candidates called a spade a spade and didn't pull any punches. The only restrictions I hope they will impose on themselves is leave the families out of it.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  47. Tracy Simmons

    I totally agree with Tavis Smiley. The president is being criticized, degraded, and disrespected on a daily basis. It's a sad day in America when the President of United States of America has to produce an original birth certificate to legitimize his US citizenship. The 2012 race will show how low Americans are willing to go to try and destroy Barack Obama.

    Concord, NC

    April 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  48. Loren, Chicago

    I don't understand why he thinks racist? Is any negative comment about President Obama racist? He's proven he doesn't have a handle on government finance (as OMB has shown, we can't afford his Health Care Reform), his foreign policy is a case of too little, too late (Libya), and his economic policy seems to based on not in my back yard (no drilling in the Gulf for oil the U.S. will use, but finance drilling in Brazil for oil for China, and McDonalds jobs for all). All valid, non-racist reasons why he is a poor President. Tavis Smiley seems to be preparing the way for the Democrats to cry racism for every criticism of this failing Presidency.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  49. SherrieGG, Camarillo, CA

    Yes, Travis is right. Now there is no excuse for the behavior of the birthers, the freepers and the other right wing whackoes. There can be no other reason for their incessant firebombing of Barack Obama.

    This is the racists against the United States of America. We shall see who wins.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  50. estebangonzolaz

    There is so much evidence that President Obama was born in Hawaii even without a long certified birth card that this issue is just a distraction from people who just don't like the President for one reason or another. And maybe the President is a just an ordinary person that wants his privacy protected. Now the Administration can focus on bigger issues as they always have however more so now. And Mr. Jack lets see you Birth Card oh so sorry they didn't make them back then!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  51. Ron, Prescott

    I sure hope not, we have much larger issues to contend with other than turning the presidential race into a carney side show. How will this look to the rest of the world? How can we expect them to take the U.S. seriously anymore? What will all this do for our future Presidents? Time for us to think and grow up.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  52. Jamie in St. Louis

    It's a moronic statement to think that the upcoming election will be the ugliest in our nation's history. The 1828 election between Jackson and Adams was incredibly personal and ugly. It's just another case of over exaggeration and overdramatization from a person that is overly sensitive to criticism of the person he supports. The only way it will be the most racist is if the media makes it that way. And, I'm certain they'll try.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  53. Bud Rupert

    I doubt it. No more then it's been for the last 2 years. But with an African American occupying the Oval Office their will be implicit rather then explicit slogans and rhetorical jousting during the campaign. In other words code words, phrases (" I want my country back" ) that will be obvious to anyone with a brain as having racist undertones but will nontheless be more subtle. The 3-5% of the electorate that is certifiably insane may act like idiots but they are marginalized and dismissed anyway. So I disagree with our friend Tavis

    April 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  54. J Farrow, New Orleans

    The 2012 race will be ugle and nasty. The birther movement will escalate this political battle with racism and hatred unlike any we've seen in modern American history. Republicans will do anything short of assassination of an opponent (and I am not so sure of that) to claw there way back into power. With an African -American President in office, this one is going to be the ugliest in along time. Right-wingers are immoral, distort the facts and lie about everything including this President's legitimacy.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  55. Annie

    Yes! The Tea Party Movement and now the Bither issue all started because we have a black president. The Republican Party also can't stand the fact a black democrat is running the country and will do anything to get him out.....It's gonna be bad! real bad!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  56. Al

    Tavis Smiley is a provocateur more so than a pundit. For example, you picked up on his comment to start a discussion.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  57. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    Yes!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  58. Sylvia from San Diego

    Absolutely not!! He is confusing disagreement with racism. It is a shame that racism always comes up when one does not agree with Obama's point of view or his policies....

    April 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  59. Steve, Clifton, VA

    The treatment of President Obama for the past two years has been the ugliest and most racist treatment I have ever witnessed or read about. The dignity and respect for the office of the President has been a staple in our politics since beginning of this country until groups of people who despised the man Barack Obama allowed their racism to adversely effect and reflect on the highest office in our wonderful country, the office of the President. Why wasn't every U.S Congressman and U.S Senator asked to produce a birth certificate? Because of the racist and ugly treatment of this presidency thus far, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see whats coming in the 2012 presidential campaign. We should be ashamed of ourselves considering all that this country has gone through to get to this point and time in our history.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  60. Keith - Twinsburg, Ohio

    Jack, I would not be at all surprised if this is the ugliest campaign.

    I think it is high time for some good researcher to do a "What's In It For Me" project to see what it is that makes them want to run for public office. I am convinced that it has nothing to do with patriotism, love of country, or civic pride.

    Maybe the reasons for running have been made so sweet, too sweet, that after 4-8 years of extravagant living, it's a free ride and title for the rest of your life.... Plus.....

    April 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  61. Bernice Christianson

    No one will have to sling mud in Trump's face. He did a pretty good job looking stupid when Obama's birth cirtificate showed up on TV for the world to see today. Now Trump is wondering if Obama has a better education than he does. Please! In his own words on TV a while back Trump said a bad ecomomy was good for his business. He can buy property dirt cheap from impoverished people. What a paracite!

    April 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  62. CNN Viewer

    Sadly, I think the Birther issue does show that this will be a problem election. That element in the USA is looking for ANY reason why this President can't be legitimate. He's done everything right – he's brilliant – he's charming – he's Presidential...yet people NEED to find something wrong. It can only mean one thing: what they're REALLY upset about is his color – plain, simple, and sad.

    April 27, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  63. Jason, Koloa HI

    He's not even close. Historically I would say every election within 25 years before and after the civil war would trump the 2012 election. But, judging by the obviously racist backlash of the last mid-term, where almost every southern state sent a conservative white male to congress it will be more racially charged than any election since the civil rights movement heated up 40 or 50 years ago. It shouldn't be about race at all, its just that there is a lot of right wing propaganda that associates entitlement benefits with minorities and its a manipulative way to motivate the uneducated or less educated with an emotional issue, to get them to vote against their own best interests.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  64. shirley sink

    Why should anyone who is against Obama be called racist? Does no
    one have free thought or free speech in the US anymore. I didn't like George "both" Bush.Was I unfair to all Texans? no love that state, and the people are so nice. I'm a Hillary voter, but an Independent.
    And why shouldn't we see Obama's birth certificate? We never had a pres who was so close to being a non citizen.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  65. Floyd A Vahalik

    Racism will be a big part, but I think "ugliest" hits the nail on the head.
    Obama is challenging the plutocracy that currently controls this country, and those companies have huge resources.

    The financial bottom line and the needs of the people are two completely different things, and never the twain shall meet.

    Idaho Falls, ID 83406

    April 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  66. Joe CE

    Probably, although most people dsitain negative ads they seem to pay off. THANKS TO THE sUPREME cOURT, THERE WILL BE UNLIMTED CORPORATION MONEY AVAILABLE TO PUSH SUCH A CAMPAIGN.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  67. Minesh - Troy, MI

    Yes, Jack. The Democrats will call every Republican candidate racist. Obama and his union thugs will use the $1B+ war-chest to denigrate and sling mud like you have never seen before. They will do everything to scare blacks and seniors.

    Minesh Baxi – Troy, MI

    April 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  68. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua

    No. The ugliest most racist presidential campaign was when Andrew Jackson of Irish immigrants ran against what he denounced as the closed undemocratic aristocracy.

    The campaign against Irish/Catholic Jack Kennedy was a pretty slimy affair as well.

    The majority of Americans are much less xenophobic these days. We proved that by electing Obama two years ago. We'll prove it again in 2012, and anyway, he isn't all Irish.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  69. Lisa in Georgia

    Jack, I agree. Living down here in the south OMG, it's already ugly. I cannot believe some of the things my co-workers are saying. It's sad when you think you have past that barrier and the very own people you call friends make you look at them differently after they have set the ugly tones that leave their lips!

    April 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  70. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, I'm not sure it will surpass either of the elections of 1800 or 1828, but it will surely be better covered, more instantaneous and louder, given the "advances" of modern media.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  71. Dennis north carolina

    I believe that the true color of the old south will show up in the republican party. since Obama was elected in office, we have seen many racist acts and most have come from the south. people can not stop acting like children and leave the past in the past. learn from the past do not live the past!

    April 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  72. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    Haven't you been watching and listening to the ugliness? This birther issue is a good example of what is to come in the next 18 months. I would never have believed that there are still so many racist and bigoted Americans. We are destroying ourselves from the inside out. The rest of the world is just standing by and watching us implode. And we're too arrogant and stubborn to stop the madness.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  73. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Ugly, yes. I can't remember a Presidential election that wasn't. However, I've always based my election vote on who I feel will do the best job of running the country. My vote has never been based on whose better at putting someone down. I actually find that [the putting down] a turn off, and will stop listening to what the character bashing candidate has to say.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  74. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    unfortunately I think Smiley is correct. just look at all the racial "code words" coming out of just the Trump camp. he and his people are just short of using "the N word" to describe Obama.

    WHAT? a BLACK MAN can't be SMART and SUCCESSFUL in America? Donald Trump DOESN'T seen to THINK SO when he questions the President's academic qualifications. it's the same old "well, HE only got in to Columbia and Harvard Law because HE was BLACK and took the place of a more qualified WHITE" racist baloney.

    and it's NOT just TRUMP. Republicans have been using the "reverse race card" Nixon "Southern Strategy" to get white working class Americans to vote against their own interests since the late 1960's

    April 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  75. Marsha from Kansas

    It has already been the most racist. What do you think the birther thing was all about. And now Trump is hinting that a black man could not possibly be smart enough to get into Columbia and Harvard. He doesn't say black man but we all know what he means.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  76. Randy

    Some of these Republican "Tea Party" activists along with their congressional members are downright irresponsible. Hard to say if they are uninformed or choose to be that way. They want to stop the raising of the debt ceiling, even if it risks financial collapse. Who knows if some of them can grasp what it would do to the bond market or the interest rates in the near future, not to mention the stock market with 401(k)s investments. The Debt is important, but collapsing the financial market won't help solve it.
    They talk as if drilling will bring oil to the market right away. Obfuscate the fact that we only have 2% of world's oil reserves. Some of them point out that we have the largest "Energy" resources in the world. Energy is a broad term, which includes coal and natural gas, among other things. And you can't fly planes or run most cars on natural gas.
    And they have one news outlet to make sure all these and other falsehoods gets repeated daily. You know, the one that starts with an F.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  77. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Ugly, yes. I can't remember a Presidential election that wasn't. However, I've always based my election vote on who I feel will do the best job of running the country. My vote has never been based on who's better at putting someone down. I actually find that [the putting down] a turn off, and will stop listening to what the character bashing candidate has to say.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  78. honest John in Vermont

    It's already nasty and the real campaigning has not even begun so yes I do expect the race to be nasty and ugly and the GOP and FOX will be fanning the flames and playing the race card directly and indirectly. This will be the ugliest presidential race ever.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  79. METALWORKER

    The last two pluse years have had undertones of raceism thanks to the southern tea party and sparked by Trump.
    A birth certi. could not stop Trumps rant. The next thing will be Pres. Obams transcript.

    If he were white none of this would matter. Our country, in the last two years has taken a giant leap backwards. I have a feeling that the gloves will be discarded. METALWORKER in IL

    April 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  80. Sean

    I think it goes without saying that it will be ugly. But racist? I've noticed a trend that whenever someone becomes an outspoken critic of Obama that person inevitably gets labeled a racist. I think part of civility and post-racism is to accept the possibility that the critics motives might have something to do with, maybe, simply disagreeing?
    That's not to say there won't be racist elements. But I'd like to think that someone can disagree with the president for a valid reason and not have the race card played against them.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  81. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    Probably. The American people are tired of the same old,same old. Obama promised change and we are left with the same old again. The American dream is drifting away and our nation is regressing rather than progressing. It's like replaying the Fall of the Roman Empire. It just seems that leading nations and civilizations can only stick around for about 200 years and then self destruct. I'm afraid our best days are behind us.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  82. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    Yes, I think Smiley is right. We are a product of our enviroment and we will show as much civility as our fearless leaders have shown during the reign of President Obama.
    All we ever get out of our leaders today is bickering between the party members and very little getting done. President Obama talks a good game but with no results.
    We had enough.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  83. AB

    Yes, Jack, Tavis Smiley is right in his prediction and characterization of the 2012 Presidential Race due to what we are now witnessing: The Tea Party and the Birther Movement-two extremist groups that exist to ensure that Barack Obama is discredited and is not re-elected. The American electorate is seeing the degeneration of civil public discourse into ugly, nasty and racist antics against our sitting president. Ignorance, hatred and stupidity reign supreme these days. Unfortunately, the media encourages banality and foolishness over reasoned and civil discussion on matters of public policy. I hope that Smiley and other journalists will steer public discourse back to sanity and intelligence.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  84. Linda San Francisco

    Jack Look around you, it has already started. For the life of me, I don't understand why people keep voting for these republicans. They are racist, liars and don't care about the little person like me. People need to vote for their best interest, but not for the color of one's skin. I am a 65 year-old-African-American female and it reminds me of the 60's. I was hoping that we had gotton past that era. I guess I was hoping for too much.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  85. Patrick Delano

    I agree with Mr Smiley...A lot of us will not admit it but closet racism was & is rampant in our society today & will reveal itself in 2012.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  86. Nancy

    Trump says he has done a "great service for the American people" by humiliating, in my opinion, your President? I can only say that, if I were an American, I would feel ashamed! This man has too much money, and apparently too much time on his hands, and I am incredulous to the fact that no one has stood up to him and told him to shut it! I think it's disgusting how this President has been subjected to this kind of treatment ! How do you expect to have the respect of the world when you can't even respect your President?

    Politics in Canada are so tame compared to the U.S., and at this moment I feel even prouder to be a Canadian. BTW, 'Mr' Trump, money doesn't buy class, and you are obviously a true example that that is so! Shame on you!

    April 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  87. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    Certainly race will be an issue. We've yet to have all the 2008 election smears resurrect. Karl Rove will make certain that will happen. Questions of religion will recur, too. It worked for Jerome Corsi in 2008. Barack Obama's schooling in a madrassa will certainly become a "new" issue for those who have such short-term memories.

    By the time we get to vote, we'll all be so tired of the "pretenders" we won't have a clear idea of what the real issues are. Once more Rovian scare tactics will prevail. Rumors will abound. Old "dirt" will surface. Once more, the election will become an issue of emotions, not clear-thinking.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  88. Bill, Bloomington Il

    And there will be those on the left that will vote for the president because of his race which is also about racism. This PBS host left that part out.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  89. Joann Reid

    No Ron Paul will not be nominated or elected President of the United States but I do like him a lot better than his son but just not for president

    April 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  90. DEE

    Yes Tavis Smiley is correct. There are people in this country who believe that the only way that we can get along is for certain races of people to know their place and not to step out of a certain comfort zone. These people are willing to do whatever it takes to keep certain people in their place. But they won't win because karma's coming for them, and there won't be anything they can do to stop it!

    Dee

    Houston ,TX

    April 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  91. MNResident

    1968 saw race riots, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated, George Wallace run on the racist American Independent Party, race riots in "the long hot summer", and Richard Nixon (remember him) getting in to the White House. And that is just one election that happened in my lifetime, let alone those that happened before. People tend to think of long ago history in more pleasing terms. Someone needs to ask Mr. Smiley if he wants to go back to elections before the Civil War or during reconstruction and think if they might be less racist than now.....

    April 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  92. Janne from NC

    So according to Smiley, if I disagree with the Presidents policy I must be a racist? Isn't that accusation in itself racial? When the democrats start playing the race card this early you know they know they are in trouble on the legitimate policy issues.

    April 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  93. Gigi Oregon

    Would you work with a party that would support such ugly behavior, I won't. Where is this ugliness coming from. I'll certainly not vote for it, If I see one mention of such hatefulness I will change parties. I for one, and I don't think I'm standing alone, am sick to death of the bullying of a president that "we the people" voted for. Even though I did not vote for Pres. Obama I accepted and supported the choice of the people. I will honor the President Of the United States of America and vote against any party, that would drag us into the depths of the hatred. It is time to stand up and be counted "In God we Trust".

    April 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  94. Jeff in Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, I have no doubt the presidential race will be ugly, Each election is always described as the "nastiest ever." However, I have to roll my eyes when I read that the election will be racist. The left loves to use the tired old racism crutch when their nonsensical policies can't be defended.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  95. Bonnie in Arkansas

    I shudder to think what it will be like.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  96. anthony

    yes travis is right the tea party and a lot of good old boys and gals are still living and they are teaching there grand kids and kids to hate people of color.mostly black people,im a black man and in my mid 50 and i no racist acts.travis is right..These kind of racist still make up over 70percent of the USA in 2011 its still like 1960 so open your eyes. BLACK PEOPLE. this time we will stick togather and vote togather. WE see you and you no who you are.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  97. Donald in New Mexico

    Politics in the last two years have been the ugliest and most racist I have ever seen in my life of 56 years. As demographics change, whites are becoming a minority in the U.S. Get used to it. Like Ben Franklin's flag says,"Join or die". The U.S. has always been a melting pot. It's time we whites melt in too. I'm tired of the my way or the highway mentality of the dwindling white majority. Let's pull together, not apart.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  98. David of Alexandria VA

    Smiley is trying to establish a self-fulfilling prophesy. We saw significant racism on the part of some of the democrats during 2008 - when just the thought of criticizing Obama the candidate was grounds for being called a racist. Obama has not lived up to expectations - he's going to be blasted from the middle, the right and far left for it. Smiley is going to try to "shame" the nation into pulling it's punches. I'm ashamed of people like Smiley for that.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  99. kathy from peoria az

    Of course he's right. People still can't fathom the thought of having a black president, especially one that is very smart and went to Harvard regardless of what lies TRUMP keeps starting. Nobody checks facts so they believe what any blowhard says no matter what and I personally am sick of all of this. People are more interested in American idol than what goes on!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  100. David

    He is absolutely right. The global damage that this will cause to the brand called "Democracy" could be severe. Most other countries look to the USA to model leadership in promoting democratic values and principles.

    Already we see Trump mocking and bullying President Obama and John King, and he'll do much worse if he ever gains any traction in the polls.

    Don't you already have a book, Jack, with a title along these lines?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  101. Chris

    I think he is absolutely right. The fact that our nation's first black president had to produce his birth certificate today to calm the far right is evidence of this.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  102. ben stockton, calif

    JACK, i see it just as travis smiley sees it. just today he released his bonified birt certificate but you know very well that the far right lunatic fringe will not believe it. was he a test tube baby or was it a ceserian birth? the spin machine is now at full throttle. now that it s out that he is american born what wedge issue will trump come up with. this country is in dire straits now and more than ever we need to get america on a course of stability. i think obama can pull it off.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  103. Cal (Maui)

    It already is, from the very get go, Obama has received more threats than any other President in history, no matter what this man does there are those who will hate him not for what he has done but for the color of his skin and there are Republican/Tea Party candidates that will play on that hatered and stir the pot knowing that they will have instant support ie. Donald Trump.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  104. Craig Smith

    Of course it will. What in the world would make you think that it wont be? This is nothing new. Its been happening for over 300 years. Alothough we have come a long way in terms of racial realtions, until the children of tomorrow (latinos, whites and blacks) have totally integrated our society, this is what we'll have. Simnply put, this is the last stand for the bigots, racists and xenophobes. They they are running scared for no good reason and Obama will weather the storm as he always has.

    Peace To You All,

    April 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  105. Nicole, Mississippi

    The 2012 race? It's already ugly and racist, Jack! God help us all should it get worst. I don't think I want to see it, but I'm sure I won't really have a choice if I watch the news or read any newspapers. Look at how you guys follow Trump, Palin, and any other loud-mouth jerk on the right. . Really hope the media will learn a lesson too and stop being part of the" circus "Obama talked about, but somehow I seriously doubt that.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  106. Joe from Ohio

    Absolutely. Hell, it already is. The birther issue, the tea party holding racist signs and members using racial epithets, Trump in general-it makes me sick to my stomach, and it isn't going to cool down anytime soon-it's just going to get worse.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  107. golferman

    Unfortunately, Smiley is right.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  108. April, Iowa

    Yes I believe he is right. The Tea Party is willing to do ANYTHING to get Obama out of the White House. That's how much they hate him. They are willing to go to new downs to get him out of the White House. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't bring up harsh words about his race, background and education. Just look at Donald Trump. I predict the mud slinging will be huge this time around.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  109. Charlotte Johnson

    Election politics crossed in to the toxic, intolerant realm after Gore lost to W in the first election. John Kerry ramped up the vitriole and we have never backed down from that. Please don't be of short memory when you talk about the environment that exists today. It was toxic long before anyone heard of the Tea Party.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  110. Phil Jones

    Yes, it is shaping up to be that way. I am 28 Black American that voted for President Obama in 2008. The way that things are going, I also see next year's Presidential election, race playing a major part.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  111. Robyn Blythe

    ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!! Yes and yes again, he is so right because this is America.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  112. Dustin from Idaho

    I agree with Mr. Smiley that the 2012 election will be the ugliest in our history but I do not think it will be racist. When will it be acceptable to disagree and argue with members of different races without it being considered racism? I have seen nothing from the mainstream candidates that I would label as racism.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  113. Ken in NC

    In the words of the once thought to be great Sarah Palin, "You Betcha".

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  114. Micah Clark

    The early indications are not encouraging. Reasonable candidates like Haley Barbour are blanching at the idea of trying to placate the right-wing freak-show that has become the Republican electorate. The media is complicit in this mess– just because you can cover something doesn't mean you should.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  115. Kat Jones

    Of course he's right. This country, founded on principles of diversity – religion, nationality, etc", is the most racist country in the world. The biggots will surely be out in full force come 2012.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  116. Kevin Hall

    Smiley will be right if the Lefties have anything to do with it....Racism is
    a leftwing campaign tactic....It's too bad but it is true.....

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  117. Cy Gardner

    Probably. The right wing have shown that truth is no obstacle in their race to the bottom of the barrel. And corporate owned media hacks like you and CNN have proven over and over again that you are perfectly willing to accord lying, racist crazy talk the same respect given to any alternate point of view, occasionally lending such garbage a patina of respectability. America is going down the tubes fast. Thanks for playing your part, Jack.
    cy arlington, va

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  118. Richard Kaplan

    Given that the last campaign was the most racist in history to that time, there seems little doubt that a resurgent Republican Party and its Tea Party storm troopers will do their level best to make 2012 even more so. No President in the history of our country has been hounded on meaningless nonsense issues like birth certificates, nor has any President EVER had to produce one. Just one example of the racist attack.

    (I live in Chicago)

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  119. Alex Landi

    Jack-
    The 2012 election will not be the most racist in history, but it will bring out all the race-baiters like Tavis Smiley. There are more race baiters in this country than actual racists, and all of them are on the left. They are getting an early start.
    By the way, implying that president get a pass on criticism because of his color is racist itself.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  120. Kenneth S. III

    I fear Tavis Smiley maybe correct. When President Obama was inaugurated the media outlets talked about GOP candidates for 2012. Never before a president of this country has tried to bring everyone together when once side refuses to do so. The birther movement has been an example of covert racism. Expect this to continue.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  121. stanley Dunigan

    He is not only right , but dead right.He could not have said it better

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  122. Deborah Seibert,. Co

    Yes and it is going to be perpetuated by people like him. Why is it that if one disagrees with the Pres., he or she is called a racist? As to nasty, let us remember the term "astroturf". Now that was nasty.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  123. Mary Ann

    Unfortunately, I believe Smiley is right. We're a prejudiced Nation and I am ashamed of the attitude the political scene has created.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  124. Andre Southall

    Tavis is right!!!! What are we showing our children. I feel sorry for the United States of the used to be America.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  125. fay from pa

    Jack, yes I do think he is right. However it is not the tea party we have to worry about. During the last election I did not see any white folks out there at polling stations with night sticks, just saying. When people vote based simply on the fact that the person they are voting for is black then this country is in deep doo doo. God help us all and God bless America.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  126. Don Gervais

    since this administration has been the ugliest, the nastiest, the most divisive, and the most racist , yes I look for the 2012 election to continue this theme.............

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  127. Charlene

    Jack, the sad truth is that the Republican Party has never before run against a candidate deemed to be practically the Second Coming.. As a longtime Republican who voted for Obama, I will explain that they had to go to extreme measures in order to make this "Messiah" seem not only to be merely human but to be the devil incarnate. Hence they will never agree with anything he says or tries to do.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  128. Charlotte Johnson

    Puh-leez with the race card. Sick of hearing about that one. It's his politics, not his color, that turn people off, though, sadly, he was voted in by many, because of his color rather than his politics.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  129. John Mason

    The Tea party will turn the next election so negative that the majority of voters will be repulsed by the Republican't party and reelect Barack Obama the return the house to the Democrats.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  130. Normagene

    Yes Jack, Smiley had it right. I'm 63 and I never thought I'd see the day when 40 something percent of Republicans would claim our president was not a U.S. citizen. The truth is they don't believe it, they're just angry that there's a "black" man in the "White" house. They can call it anything they choose but it's still the same old racism we had in this country when I was a girl. The rest of the world must be shaking their heads in wonder and the founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  131. Jacque (Oregon)

    Ugliest – Yes . . . Racist – No, because honest up front racism is being cloaked to other costumes today by very unethical, power hungry politicians who are too busy distorting fact and playing the "Blame Game" rather than deal with the enormous problems facing our government and our country. Truth and honesty has disappeared along with honor and ethics in our profit worshiping corporations and the portions of the government which they now control.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  132. P Duncan

    It's unfortunate but true.... It has been ugly since the inauguration.... Why is it so hard for people to accept a qualified "black" man to be the President of the US? People can call it what the want .. but it has always been over race.. the issues and disrespect.. from calling him a liar at a State of the Union address to this unnecessary question of his birth. I just have to fast and pray to be able to forgive them for their foolishness.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  133. Jeremy

    I think Smiley is right. Whether we like it or not, the under current of a certain "redneck" mentality has seeped into the mannerisms of political dialogue. Maybe even more shocking, it has somehow been embraced by one particular "party", and then patted on the back by Republicans. Perhaps the glimmer of sanity is the fact that the beltway press has seemed to have a new found interest in these town hall meetings where supporters of both political parties are expressing disdain for Paul Ryan's (GOP) budget plan in a civil, dare I say Liberal, tone. If civil Liberals can quickly become the new "screaming Tea Party", perhaps the tone of the 2012 race can be curbed just enough to not reach our nation's nastiest in history.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  134. Leigh

    Unfortunately, I believe Mr. Smiley is most definitely correct.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  135. Phil from Ohio

    I disagree with Tavis Smiley's prediction that it will be the most racist. Ugly? Perhaps. But just because Obama is criticized and rightly so for his policies doesn't mean it's a racist attack as so many in the media are quick to call it. What the presidential race will really be about and fueled by Obama and the Dumbocrats is class warfare That to me is just as bad as being racist.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  136. Alison Phillips

    I don't think the 2012 Presidential race has to be the ugliest, most racist in a nation's history. In order for this to be the case, the press must not allow those who of for Obama to label those who are against him as racist if they are only against his policies.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  137. Andre

    Yes, it won't be any different than the everyday "behind closed door" rhetoric and racism. The only difference is that when campaign time comes, you will get the full view, emotion and display of a pressure cooker that's been waiting to whistle and let off steam.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  138. annette

    Jack: In case you have not noticed, it already is one of the racist presidencies I have ever seen. Many state progressives hated President Bush, but I beg to differ, we did not like his policies but as a person, I probably would have a beer with him. The birther's are one of the saddest things I have seen in the US in all my 53 years. Jack, hate was not what we felt for President Bush, but hate is what a lot of TP's and Birthers feel for President Obama.l He has been mocked, had to produce birth certificate (humiliating for US). What is next? When we question racism, we are accused of being racist against white people. They must not read about African American joblessness, etc. or they would know they have been given an advantage. Probably will not post, but I feel good about venting (smile).

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  139. Brian in WV

    I don't mean for this to sound racist, but it is. I will not vote for Obama again. The powers that be make racism an issue in this country and there are too many problems w/out having to manufacture more of the same. I can't talk to a liberal and criticize Obama w/out being a racist, and I can't praise Obama in front of conservatives w/out being a socialist. I can't win, no matter what i believe.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  140. Todd Comic

    I hope so. The country is in such bad shape maybe we need to hit rock bottom before we can get up. I don't like the race but let's face it, a lot of people voted for Oboma just to make history. If race doesn't play a card in politics then why was it such a part of the last election. I hope we find a Native American to run and win!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  141. luke

    Things are already ugly–it's just that code words are being used–birther–school grades, etc. No one has the dangley parts to say the word outloud. Well, hey, I'd like to see the Donald's birth certificate, his school transcripts, his IQ, and I'd also like to know about his failed business ventures. I'm a voter–I have the right to know.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  142. Aaron Brown (Detroit MI)

    I'm an African American and I feel that this statement is somewhat valid based on the condescending behavior of the GOP and other opposing parties. Everyone should show some class and respect. President Obama may look different than prior presidents but that doesn't mean he is inferior and has to prove himself since he is African American. I'm looking forward to a modern society where people can be seen as people and be judged by the content of their character....

    April 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  143. Peg in NY

    Yes. The Tea Party knows no bounds when it comes to low blows. This could get very ugly, very fast. Nasty seems to be the order of the day. I just don't get it.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  144. Rhett Thompson

    Well, thanks for framing the Republicans that way. It's obvious the Repunlicans are the racist party in your statement above, right? This underscores why people believe the subtle liberal bias of stations like CNN is far worse than the obvious conservative bias of Fox News. Few talking heads on CNN present facts as opposed to favoritism

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  145. Jeff

    The Tea Party rules the Republicans right now. The right is in a dire situation and they will say anything, racially-charged or not, to get elected. Anything to rally the base. For the right to purposely perpetuate false lies and mislead people, it's going to get nasty.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  146. Al from Orlando

    The people that represent us are a reflection of our population,unless the people of this country understand that we are headed to our
    country being destroyed by the people who vote

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  147. Renee Peoria,Ill

    I understand where Mr. Smiley is coming from but I think he's wrong. Let's remember that the tea party does not represent most Americans; if it did Mr. Obama never would have been elected in the first place. Also, whoever ends up running against him can't afford to make this election about race; they'd alienate all the independent and moderate voters in the middle. Alienating the center was the mistake that McCain made, if the GOP wants to stand a chance they're going to have to correct that fatal error. Race-baiting is not the way to do that.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  148. carol twardo

    Yes it will be the ugliest in a long time
    One reason is because all of the news media is so negative about everything. We have gone through recessions before and come out okay. It takes time but the news media seems more impatient than the people are.

    How about saying something positive once in a while.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  149. Kim

    Unfortunately, Tavis is right. It will never be admitted as racism, but racism it is and will be. No other President in history has been vilified like President Obama has been. From being called a "liar" during the State of the Union, to Trump's questioning his intelligence to be admitted to an Ivy League school, he has been disrespected from day 1. I hope and pray that this next election, the intelligent American public will see through the thinly veiled racism and vote for President Obama to have a second term. He has tried to make good on his promises, but has been thwarted at every turn by the Republicans and their false promises. We as the endangered middle class need someone who will stand up for us and not big Corporate entities.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  150. T Johnson

    Perhaps Mr. Smiley is the racist who would do or say anything to get President Obama reelected. This is not the kind of rhetoric we need.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  151. Michael

    I wonder, is it possible for the 2012 election to be more racist? Wingnut people on both sides of the aisle who continue to pronounce their opinion as fact with regard to the president. Until the media is forced to be factual with any statement regarding any candidates, there is no way to get the same out of regular people, let the mudslinging begin.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  152. Pete

    It will be because the Obama campaign will say that anyone that disagrees with this guy is a racist. It cannot be that they have a different vision for the country just that they don't like the color of his skin. I don't like his vision for the direction of this country and what it will do to my grandchildren and unborn great grandchilderen. This country is in danger and the danger is greater if we give this guy 4 more years. America think about your children and the future.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  153. isaac (Spanish Fort, AL.)

    Jack, everybody knows that Obama is going to be a one term President because he wasted to much time on health care, bowing to Kings, taking more vacations as usually, not having a budget and allowing these gas prices to go haywire. I'm black and a Dem and Travis is trying to get ahead of the storm and play the race card. It's the economy that is going to make him loose, not the color of his skin.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  154. Jim Evans

    Yes Jack, regrettably. Those of us who want to believe that racism has all but been eliminated in our country find new evidence that is is not. All of the 'birther' nonsense and questioning President Obama's educational background are evidence of the 'modern day racism' that is abounding and persisting in sickening our country, our emotional health, and our human dignity.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  155. William

    I hate to say it but he's right. Some Americans just can't handle a man of color in the White House regardless whether he's the best man for the job or not. The sad part is how many of these people consumed with such hatred, actually claim to be Christian. May God help us all!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  156. ray

    Travis is stoking the wrong fire. If race was an issue how did Barrack get voted in as president. Could it be his policies and poor decisoion making thats got the country so upset. What has this guy accoplished?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  157. Kay Hoey

    Smiley is wrong, thanks to Gov. Walker unveiling the Republican contempt for unions and the American worker, most independent voters and liberal Republicans have woken up!! The extreme Tea Party crowd will literally hand President Obama his second term. Have faith in the American people, remember they voted for Abe Lincoln and FDR.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  158. Shayne

    I agree with Tavis Smiley, It's clear that the Majority will not accept Obama as OUR PRESEDENT!!!
    Why wasn't this a issue 4 years ago with BUSH!!!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  159. Vince Hugh

    Jack, if Smiley and the liberals get their way on the issues, then it won't be a racist climate. If they don't get their way, then it will be a racist election. If 'whites' and conservatives who want to cut a lot of the social programs because of our huge budget crisis, then its 'racist'. If 'blacks' and liberals get their way of not cutting these spending problems, then its not 'racist'. Has nothing to do with reality, just what position you hold. This is all crazy. Everyone knows we have serious budget problems and there is no way to cut costs without cutting social type programs....thus we're all racist if we vote to cut.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  160. abby

    I agree with Mr. Smiley. America is descending into an ugly morass in which the most extreme gets the most attention and I partly blame the media because it continues to feed frenzy. We have ceased to be civil or cooperative. We have become so mean-spirited and vicious in our discussions that moderate views are muted and ignored. It's all about power and money, not about what is best for America.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  161. Nancy Wall

    I think the "r" word we need to be concerned about is "rude". I would never have imagined our Congress or anyone running for President would be so rude and ugly when talking about the President of the United States. I am ashamed for them since it's obvious they have no shame. Good or bad, effective or not, he is still the elected President of this country. What do you suppose our children think when they hear adults spew such filth about the President? We need to spend the money to send Congress to Charm School.
    Nancy Wall
    Winton, NC

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  162. Alan C

    Yes. The Tea Party has shown it has no shame, no regard for the facts and certainly no respect for President Obama. In the long run they will fail because groups like this eat their own.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  163. Nikki/san diego

    Absolutely Jack, Race is the elephant that's been in the room since the first election and the elephant keeps getting fatter and fatter while being fed by a bunch of folks who just have never been in the business or the mood for a Black or even a Bi-racial President. Happy Election!!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  164. Shanna

    I concur with Tavis wholeheartedly I do believe this upcoming election will be immensely filled with hate and racial tension with the likes of Palin, Limbaugh and their newest Idiotic Candidate Donald Trump preying on the minds of the weak attempting to insight a race war, the actions of Donald Trump are dangerous and ridiculous spewing out all of the ignorant comments first it was the "Birther" issue now he's alledging that our President doesn't have a Harvard Law Education what is this guys problem we've never seen this happen in the history of the US Presidency what else can you call this other than "Racism" at its best.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  165. David Caprita

    Not since the sixties, when the rhetoric over civil rights was astronomically high on both sides of the political specrum have I seen the atmosphere so intense. What's next – riots in the streets, elected officials targeted like we saw then?
    The media shares in the blame, giving air time to the racist likes of the Grady Warrens, Andrew Breitbarts and Pat Buchanans of the world.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  166. Orla Stuart - Santa Cruz, CA

    Of course. The "right" have NEVER put "America first," only their own selfish interests and that of Republican party. They will do anything to force their own fringe agenda on the majority of Americans, and spend vast amounts of money to achieve their goals. The interests of America are a distant blip on the far horizon even the Hubble Telescope could not find.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  167. CindyTx65

    Tavis is partially right but his thoughts are only on White racists. The aides, volunteers, and workers for Obama' 2008 Primary campaign, they used sexism and racism.

    I am a bi-racial American who is gay and I see racism as a two way street.

    I do agree about 20% of the Republican voters have racial issues.

    I do remember the Democrats, like myself, questioning Bush's records at college and while in the military(supposily).

    I would like to see Democrats admit to racism from people of every race and political affiliation but they only want to blame a certain segment of the US population.

    Obama supporters have shown Sexism since 2007 and the US population seems to condone this bigotry that is far worse than racism.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  168. Nelson Navarro

    I agree that the 2012 presidential election will be the most racist ever.
    The reason is that the republicans have run out of ideas and will resort to any mud slinging and dirty tactics. they are so out of ideas that they do not realize that such tactics will backfire on them.

    what do I thing about D. TRUMP?
    nothing, do not waste my brain cells thinking about political garbage.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  169. Dorothy

    It's already looking that way. Looking at it as someone from another country, Canada, I find it hard to believe & sad that people actually listen to Donald Trump and his racists views in connection with Obama's birthplace and education. He definitely keeps the racists all riled up. Oh, I forgot though, Trump has a good relationship with 'the Blacks', so of course I can't be correct in my assumptions.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  170. Stephen Charchuk

    Of course he's correct. The right-wing has never fully accepted the democratic process, with very few exceptions, and have done their best to circumvent it whenever possible. Remember, they were the one's who had wanted to replace the British King with one of their own.....

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  171. Miguel Centeno

    PBS host Smiley: 2012 pres. race will be 'ugliest,' 'most racist' in history. Is he right?
    Si, Si, and yes, Absolutely yes!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  172. sieben13

    The 2012 will be the nastiest,dirtiest & Racist Presidential election in the history of the United States .What is really a tragedy is that the WORLD be watching. What conclusion do you think they will have ??????

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  173. Scott Stodden

    I Wish He Wasn't Right Jack I Really Do Cuz I Don't Have A Racist Bone In My Body But I Think Tavis Smiley Is Right! You Think The 2008 Campaign Was Bad You Aint Seen Nothing Yet Cuz Come 2012 Its Going To Get So Ugly During The Primaries We As Americans Aint Going To Be Able To Stomach Alot Of What The Candidates Have To Say And What They Will Do! Its Sad That We Can't Hold Elections Without Talking About Race, Gender, Sexual Preference Or Whatever The Case May Be. My Question Is What Focusing On The Real Issues That Our Country Is Facing? Quite Frankly Jack I Don't See One Candidate Except Mitt Romney Who Wants To Focus On The Issues And Not Attack!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    April 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  174. Michael Armstrong Sr. Sherman Tx.

    I think that by the time election time creep's up America will be crying anyone but Obama It dosnt take very long for poverty to convince a person that its time to change the channel Obama is self destructive and will seal his own fate nation wide .

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  175. Catherine Woodson

    I agree right down to the last period.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  176. Diana Block

    This is the self fulfilling prophecy, people who think something is going to be racist, will see racism in the results, no matter what happens. Just like in the last election. Anytime anyone challenged the future president by asking hard questions or simply disagreeing with his politics they were accused of being racist. I am a black woman and I was accused of being racist against my own people, because I simply disagree with some of the Presidents views. Unfortunately race and potential for racism are very real DISTRACTIONS in the political process. Yes, racism exists, but some people see it everywhere and in everything.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  177. h. marsh

    I guess Obama gets a free ride when he tells Republicans can get into the back of the bus. Republicans want to kill old people. Jack protect CNN candidate Obama ....The most divisive President we ever had ... POST THIS JACK See u at Chengdu.. Great place isn't it.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  178. Greg Hamby

    Hello Jack, The election of a black man as President has brought out an element that many Americans thought had disappeared. The Tea Party proves that attitudes about race have a long way to go. Predjudice is alive and well in this country. Mr. Obama has inherited the bungling of GOP policy since Nixon. Clinton made a run at fixing the damage but GW Bush derailed the train.
    The racists will not prevail as they are fundamentally and morally wrong.
    Sincerely, Greg Hamby

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  179. Teresa

    Unfortunately, Jack, Tavis is sadly right. It has already begun. What other President has been challenged to show his birth certificate? What other President has been challenged on his grades and whether or note he was a poor or good student. There have been plenty Presidents in the past who may have not been the best of students. Did anyone question it? Some are implying that President Obama was granted perhaps a favor to get into Harvard–as if to say well they needed African Americans so we will give him a free ride–implying that he is not smart. It seems that with minorities, especially Hispanics and African-Americans there is a double standard. I face it at work each day because I am an African American woman with a doctorate degree. It is worse in the south.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  180. Shawn

    Smiley is either in love with hyperbole or very ignorant of American history. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson destroyed a personal friendship, Andrew Jackson accused John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay of contributing to his wife's death, and Grover Cleveland's love child was called out in the 1890's. Modern elections have nothing on these. Despite all the rhetoric, America is in fine shape and our civility is admired around the world. America may seem on the rocks, but check out the rest of the world, and maybe the US won't seem so bad.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  181. Paul

    Who gives one wit what Tavis Smiley thinks. Focusing on the fringe, right or left, is distracting and pointless. Jack, even asking this question takes us away from serious discourse about serious subjects. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
    Paul
    Durango, Colorado

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  182. Bill Wildhage

    I agree with Tavis Smiley. All the vitriol unleashed toward the President is not that he is liberal, not that he is a Democrat. The simple fact is the one no one will admit to. And that is he is black. And by some people's belief couldn't possibly be qualified to be President of the United States let alone a good and competent.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  183. Holley Smith

    I agree could not with your comment about voters losing track of civility. I think we need to consider the fact that our representatives need to maybe set a better example by being honest and approaching everythiing with putting their own personal agendas first.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  184. JMK

    Jack–He's probably right. It seems to get uglier and uglier. Doesn't anyone know the word "respect" anymore. Can you imagine campaigning with the Donald? Everyone would be digging out their birth certificates and school documents. Obsurd!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  185. Victoria Fisher

    Yes Smiley is right. These people are the same peope that voted for John McCain and McCain was born in the Panama Canal!!! (claiming only because it was under US controlm – it is still not the US). In addion, did Palin ask John McCain for his birth certificate? Should Palin's nomination for the 2008 VP be voided since Joh McCain was not born in the US. This charade is being conducted mereky because Pres Obamais a black man. Racist scared and uncouth individuals trying to oust the frst black president. This is ridiculous on thier part because it is so obvious. No respect has been shown to this President at all since the first day he took office. He has been doing a wonderful job and I commend him.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  186. Michael Roepke

    We have a Black President who has already been accused of being a foreigner, a Muslim, a liar, a Hitler clone, a socialist, and is held responsible for all the poor decisions of the Bush Administration and its Republican Congress. If it gets any uglier than this, let's at least stop calling ourselves a Christian Nation.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  187. Peter

    Yes 2012 will be the most racist and dirtiest campaign in us history. The tea party has changed the ball game. Fortunately they only represent 20% of the U.S. population. Donald Trump pandering to them will only derail his presidential aspirations. Obama’s reelection is as certain as the republican parties misstep on trying to take away everyone’s Medicare when people see those ads on TV they will ultimately play it safe with President Obama regardless of his race.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  188. Victor True

    Why are we in an elecction race that doesn't occur for the next 18 months or so?
    What a waste of time and energy. Let us not brooch the subject until at least cy-2012,

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  189. John Barlow

    I agree the 2012 campaign will the ugliest, most devisive in our history, let's hope it will not be the most racist. I am hopeful our Nation has long past race as an issue. Let's focus on the results, the future plans, and figure out who can get us out of the "hole" we are in. I don't care if the Democrats or Republicans got us into the mess, I want to vote for someone who will fix it with a sensible plan (no more candy, and quit lying our needs and give us what the "real solutions are" ).

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  190. Leon

    I do believe it will but hope that it doesn't. Republicans always talk about the deficit and other programs that will harm our children, grandchild and so on. The way people attack the president has and will continue to set a bad prescient for our children and country.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  191. Dorothy

    It's already looking that way. Looking at it as someone from another country, Canada, I find it hard to believe & sad that people actually listen to Donald Trump and his racists views in connection with Obama's birthplace and education. He definitely keeps the racists all riled up. Oh, I forgot though, Trump has a good relationship with 'the Blacks', so of course I can't be correct in my assumptions.
    Kelowna, B.C. Canada

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  192. Wesley Bryan

    It is unfortunate but Travis Smiley is right in his assessment, this coming election will be the uglest, and devisive election in the history of America. This elections is going to bring out the "wolves in sheep clothings" , those racist who are sleeper cells, and the ones who are do not care. It is a dark day in America that we are still fighting this deadly and cancerous disease, RACISM>....

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  193. Nancy Houtz

    From Nancy at Loveland, CO:

    If the presidential election is as racist and ugly as our Presidents first years in office, heaven help our country. As a Christian, I am shocked at the emails going around in Christian circles since Jan. 2009 depicting President Obama in racist manner – Then recently, the Republican woman from Orange County, CA (also a Christian) depicted him as a Chimpanzee in a picture, then claimed on the news "she did not mean it in a racist way." – If that's true, then there is a whole lot of ignorance out there about what racism truly is.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  194. Dan

    I feel that racism has been the underlying cause of the total opposition to everything our President has attempted to do. The fatcat republican party and the tea party have put such a united negative spin on everything instead of working together to truly attempt to solve our issues. We seem to have forgotten that Mr. Obama inherited a sinking ship due to the fatcats destructive behavior and now they are going out of their way to smear the man.

    I also feel that it's becoming more and more obvious everyday and that in return, President Obama will have no trouble winning reelection. Far more Americans are true Americans and are realizing where the blame really lies.

    PS: I'm a middle aged working white man. I fully support President Obama and wish him continued success. My cup is always "half to completely full".

    Dan
    Pittsburgh, PA

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  195. Blair Willis

    Yeah everyone is going to vote for their race this time... Lol
    Come on Seriously! I can't believe this question is being asked. I simply disagree with Obama just like I disagreed with the Clintons for years.
    You might be a Racist if... You Vote Against Obama? That sounds ridiculous and is a stubborn statement made by people who are casting judgement with no legit facts. #RACECARD

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  196. Gary in Pa

    How come those who disagree with the "Tea Party" or Republicans have to refer to them as racist. Can the only reasoning be that they have the devine authority and can't be wrong. I listened to Tavis Smiley's comments and as usual, he thinks that we Tea Party members are some kind of radical nazi. What can I say, Mr Smiley is a poor excuse for a journalist.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  197. Terry

    Yes, because we seem to become more opinionated, more emotionally reactive, and less thoughtful by the minute. The "Birther" nonsense is a good example! H. L. Mencken said, "It is difficult to underestimate the intelligence of the American people." Unfortunately, he is turning out to be right.
    Terry, Dayton, OH

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  198. Gigi Oregon

    I will not support a party that would run such a campaign. I'm sick to death of the bulling of the republican party.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  199. birddog in Mississippi

    Given that Donald Trump is "proud" of himself for pandering to the most racist elements in our society and leveling completely unfounded accusations against the legitimately elected president of our country as well as multiple other elected officials, and that the news media has seen fit to respond to those completely unfounded accusations by providing airtime that could be used to focus on actual news – like maybe that in states around the country laws are being written to make it harder for people to register to vote, laws which particularly target minorities, the young, and urban dwellers, yes. It is disgusting and shameful.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  200. Rocky in LA

    It absolutely will be uglier and yes, more racist than anything we've ever seen. There are still many GOPeeps, who simply cannot accept the fact that a black man is our President....they never have;they never will. They, along with others on the right, have continued an unrelenting attack on President Obama, from the day that he was elected, where truth of content seems to matter less than sound bites, designed to incite divisiveness and racial hatred. So yes...this will be our first 'R' rated Presidential campaign.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  201. Hoku

    He is correct because America thought it was ready for an African- American president. And as much as America believed that it had moved beyond its racial past, it actually hasn't. Ugly things that would only be said in ones house or ones circle is now coming out in public for everyone to hear.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  202. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Since Pres. Obama has put out his original birth certificate info, the racists will be seen for what they are and it's about time the USA should deal with the "gentleman's agreement" of the "birther" and other facades that the racists have hid behind for so many years.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  203. Gary Shelton

    The Supreme Court turned up the heat on what's OK for us to yell at each other when it ruled in favor of Westboro Church's angry and hateful behavior at funerals. We used to know where to draw the line but the Court gave us nothing to help us know when to stop. "In your face" is the new law of the land.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  204. Sandy Frederick

    Jack– I watch CNN most of the day. All I can say about the upcoming election is that the media coveringof the upcoming events can influence or minimize the impact of the "ugliest, most racist" campagn in history. Take Donald Trump for instance. Now that the birther issue should be laid to rest, now Mr. Trump wants to know what grades Obama got in college. Oh come on. Quit covering Trump until he announces his true intentions. Most of us with common sense already have his number. While I am a registewred Democrat, I think you should give Rand Paul more coverage, He seems to really have the" pulse" of this nation. Cover what is news and not what is "entertainment".

    April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  205. Al H

    It would seem that Mr. Smiley is right on target. This all started with the comments that arose during the campaign with Hillary Clinton. It was somewhat nasty then (especially since we weren't sure if Barack was going to be our first Black President, or the second behind bill). At that time the Tea Party had not gone into full gear, and many Whites that it would be in vogue to back a BLACK candidate, especially since he was sure to lose. Opps.... he won...now we can really see where this nation stands. How about you Jack... prior to the election you had good things to say about this man... What happened?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  206. Lori Johnson

    Tavis is absolutely right! It has already become a racist and nasty situation and the campaigns have not really started. No one has ever questioned the birth place of any other President. GW was the so of a military family he could have easily been born overseas. who asked? Who cared? Some how it seems that in some arenas when Black people move up their right to be there is challenged. When I say I've expereinced it, my Caucasian friends poo poo it away as a figment of my imagination. Why just last week I was invited to leave America because of a policical conversation that went hay wire. Go figure!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  207. Z.O.

    Unfortunately for us as a nation, Tavis is probably correct. The Birthers – those within and witout of DC – will not go away. A piece of paper will not defuse the hatred of balding blowhards and gun toting imbeciles. God help us all.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  208. Darla from Florida

    Election of a black president pulled the covers off a bed of bigotry that has existed forever. This has absolutely nothing to do with President Obama. As a white citizen I feel compelled to hang my head in shame.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  209. Joe

    Cheap tactics will be a dime a dozen, smear campaigns will go too far and people will regret who they vote for in the 2012 election. I don't see racism being part of this package, I do see old proverbs proving their wisdom though. Pride goeth before the fall, Jack. Racism no, influx of foolish decisions yes.

    Joe, Florida

    April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  210. Dorothy Kincaid

    IT will be the ugliest – most RACIST election you and others like you will vehemently deny. I feel sorry for people like you. You stand in your cocoon like world and deny that RACISM still exist. God help you and others like you. A true and living God not the one that continues to allow this to go on – not the one you serve when you attend your christian denomination, but the one my ancesters worshipped – A true Jesus Christ who accepted me for who I am – a Black female who's great grandfather was a slave (Adolphus Brown).

    April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  211. Jacque (Oregon)

    Ugliest – Yes . . . Racist – No, because honest up front racism is being cloaked to other costumes today by very unethical, power hungry politicians who are too busy distorting fact and playing the "Blame Game" rather than deal with the enormous problems facing our government and our country. Truth and honesty has disappeared along with honor and ethics in our profit worshiping corporations and the portions of the government which they now control.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  212. peter

    i think it will be jack but it wont be the tea party it will be the unions and obamas flunkies causing the ugliest election ever

    April 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  213. Ruby, Champaign

    I'm afraid you're absolutely right. I'm 80 years old, and usually an optimist.
    But with all the hate in this political atmosphere, I can't see any good coming from any of it. I'm almost happy I won't be around to see it. I'm mostly concerned about my grandkids. What kind of a country are we leaving them?

    Grandma
    Champaign, Ill.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  214. Emmett Smith

    Dear Jack, Ithink that the present divisiveness in the government and the electorate will probably become worse and it will eventually split this nation into two or more new ones. The present U.S.A. is too diverse to function as a single political entity.As for myself, I am in my sixties, but I am seriously considering emmigrating to Australia. Emmett Smith, Mobile, AL.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  215. Victoria Fisher

    Yes Smiley is right. These people are the same peope that voted for John McCain in 2008 and McCain was born in the Panama Canal!!! (claiming this was dismissed only because it was under US controlm – the Panama Canal is still not in the US). In addion, did Palin ask John McCain for his birth certificate? Should Palin's nomination for the 2008 VP be voided since Joh McCain was not born in the US. This charade is being conducted merely because Pres Obama is a black man. Racist, scared and uncouth individuals trying to oust the frst black president. They say they want their country back, from whom – a black man. This is ridiculous on their part because it is so obvious. No respect has ever been shown to this President at all since the first day he took office. He has been doing a wonderful job and I commend him.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  216. SYLVIA

    I totally agree with Mr. Smiley on the racist tone now and for the upcoming election. Racist bigots like Trump would normally be called out immediately by the press and definitely by the party that the racist belong to but we didn't see any of that from the media or the republican leadership. As a matter of fact leaders like Palin and Boehner seemed to egg him on. I along with most of the american people have felt nothing but shame and sadness for our country since Trump came on the scene. The republican party has a problem with this country having a black president and the media needs to have the courage to say it. Instead they criticize the republicans along with the democrats like their is shared responsibility. There isn't shared responsibility. This is a tea party and republican party problem and I continue to hope that the media will do their job and cover the facts.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  217. Dale

    In the begining, it will not be an issue. But the media, will highlight the negitive and the irresponsible nature of mass media will turn it into an ugly mess. Thereby, creating more stories to boost their ratings.
    Right Jack?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  218. Sylvia

    There are those who will always believe if an African-American achieves greatness it had to be through changing the facts. These people felt superior when we African-Americans were held back by segregation. Now that the window of opportunity exist who do they blame for their lack of success surely lack of ability would not enter their minds

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  219. ann perry

    Yes Jack because we have a nut like Trump that is an idiot that says anything.Pres.need to sue him for saying all those nasty thing about him.That might make him take a back seat if he got the rest of his money .He can't even comb his hair and I don't even no what color it is.Every time I see him it is another color.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  220. Daniel Miller

    If the media like that Travis guy, MSNBC, CNN, Headline News along with The View's Whoopie & Joy would stop promoting & using the Race Card, it would NOT be an issue.
    Why can't the Media discuss & report on issues concerning America and the world, not what is a promotion for the Democratic Party victory in 2012?

    Oh and I am a minority, not a white.

    (Chicago, Il)

    April 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  221. Tom Ball

    Hello Jack,the short answer is Yes.

    As a volunteer on the Obama Campaing in 2008,I encountered racial slurs and hate from even Clinton supporters. there is a deep devide in this country which goes back to George Wallace and the 1968 election.

    John Bircher's teamed-up with Dixiecrats because they hated communisim and the student radicals who were for civil rights and against Vietnam.

    this segment is now in thier 50s or older,and they are angry because thier hate is going to die with them,and thier idea of "American Exceptionalism" is really just a cover for white supremecy,militancy and authoritarianism.

    the empire needs to end, we need to stop being arrogant.

    grow-up america,it's the 21st century.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  222. Mary from Boston

    Good for Tavis Smiley. I agree with him and it makes me sick. Civility in politics has disappeared. In our violent, gun-crazy society, it is very worrisome. I think the media needs to begin a comprehensive, coordinated strategy to try to tone things down. e.g. how much coverage did Donald Trump deserve for his farce on birth certificates?

    Mary in Boston

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  223. Rick

    Jack , I live in Florida and the Tea party is alive and well here ,
    When You go out to dinner or libations at a local establishment .
    1 out of 3 tables or seats for that matter all You here is about the evil that President Barrack Hussien Obama is , How He is Ruining this
    Country and that we need to take it back . And when You ask them what There facts are based on they have no legitimate answer other Than He is a Black man , But not exactly expressed by that term .
    When see a horse You call it a Horse , So when I see racism I see a Racist .

    Rick C. Florida

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  224. Albert

    Yes, it will be the nastiest election. I am hispanic (not black or white)and voted for Obama. It is what it is. Old white folks (tea party) believe that defeating Obama will mean regaining power for their kind, regardless whether it is good for the country or not. The want someone who looks like them to be in power. They will feel more comfortable, regardless if that person bancrupts this country. As long as they feel comfortable with the person they have elected. I will not be shocked if this election is defined by racial lines.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  225. Kim Li

    I do believe the 2012 election will be the nastiest ever. After surfing numerous sites today,I was floored by all the venom filled comments about our President. Of corse I've seen them before,but after he showed his BC this morning,many posts were just outright hateful,and yes racist.
    I thought we were past that nasty point in history,but sadly,it seems worse than ever.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  226. Weldon from Newmarket ON Canada

    Some people just like to make the headlines. He doesn't have a clue as to what constitutes a good President. Given his choice, he would probably revert back to Bush. If the population is that gullible to beleive his prediction, then the USA has a bigh problem

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  227. Kris

    It is very unfortunate that in this day in age we are even having this conversation, but I do see a trend as of late that supports this notion. The divisiveness we have seen in this nation is higher than I can ever remember, and as a method of winning votes, I think potential candidates and their supporters will take the quickest, cheapest shots at the other party for their own political gain. Truth of the matter is though; policy probably has less to do with the economy than many think. We live in a global economy, one that is just as greatly affected by events of other nations as our own.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  228. Alonzo W of PHX, AZ

    I am 59 years old and have never seen politics so visceral and riddle ugly racial codes . I truly believe that the 2012 presidential race . Will display America at it's worst

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  229. Matt Cormack

    Mr. Smiley’s predication is as right as rain. The problem isn’t that the Tea Partiers WILL say anything to defeat Obama …It's that their constituency BELIVEVE'S all of what they are saying no matter how ludicrous. This will prove tough for the Obama campaign to “rise-above” the lies that may be strewn about him as they have had to do with the birther garbage…The gloves are going to be taken off in this one…good viewing though.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  230. estebangonzolaz

    Oh Mr. Jack I forgot you covered the Adams-Jefferson fight so do tell us about them!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  231. Rachel

    Jack, look around and listen to the tone, we are sliding back 20 years. Thanks to Donald Trump. He's not in-touch with main stream American. Please keep Donald Trump out of politics.

    Rachel
    California

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  232. Kay

    I think we are way past that point already. Black people in America in general have always felt we have to be extraordinary to be respected in this country. It doesn't matter that President Obama has graduated from Harvard and Columbia, nor that he won the election beyond a shadow of a doubt (unlike Bush in 2000). His creditials, competence, decision making skills, and education will always be questioned because he's Black. The fact that he's President has just opened these issues up to a larger audience.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  233. Walter Faust

    No, he is quite incorrect. The person who hurls the racist charge first is the true racist. To wish the president out of office because of his failed policies which border on socialism has nothing to do with his ethnicity. Americans who do not have their heads in the sand realize that his election to office was a tragic mistake. Doesn't Travis Smiley realize that without a large percentage of whites Obama would never have risen to the Presidency? So now if you decided to change your mind about him it must be based on race?? How can you even consider Smiley as a correspondent of any merit? He sees everything as being black or white .. the mark of a true bigot & racist.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  234. Dylan Gunn

    He is absolutley right. And it saddens me that this election WILL be like that. There is numerous issues id like to hear the candidates debate about and the sad thing is, it looks like these debates will be focused on what "he" hasnt done what "he" promised to do. when in reality, the debates should be focused on the debt, the war, etc

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  235. Betty Simpkins

    It will be a mud-slinging election w/race, money & creed included. And we want to lead the world! It truly is "don't do as I do–do as I say you should do!" Betty Simpki, Lexington, Kentucky

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  236. a.j. (mi)

    its shaping up to be just that.the tea party is adding a circus atmosphere to the standard mud slinging child like dribble we come accustome to.what a joke,what befuddles me is the republicans willingness to embrace these crack pots.what a shame!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  237. Mr. D

    Smiley isn't smiling is he? We really don't need Smiley to tell us that we as a country are not smiling, we already know it. Let's hope we can move forward during the "dark days" of the 2012 campaign and election. Let's all keep a smile on our faces as we walk the bumpy path of political footwork.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  238. Lansana Sako

    Tavis smiley is right.President Obama has gone under so much scruitny more than any other president in two years. These scruitnys are not because of his bad behavior as in the case of others, but just because he is black. Had president Obama been a white man that came to this country from England at the age of two, none of these birthers would care to ask for his birth certificate. Some of our citizens still want to turn the clock to the days of caucatian president no matter how good the president is for our country. His distractors will stop at nothing to derail him and there is nothing he can do to satisfy them. After producing his birth certificate, the issue is now the authentisity of it and verification of how he got into Havard and Columbia with such poor grades. The American people should ignore these fools who has no interest in tackling the county"s problems but to make name for theselves that will eventually generate income for them

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  239. Dianne

    I will be 60 years old in 2 weeks the I'll always remember the first time I had the honor of voting of the highest office in our land. Sadly, these days I feel like I'm in a bad school place ground where all of the "kids are BULLIES who lie openly with no secound thought of the damage they cause just so they can get their hot little hands on the country. It frightens me and saddeds me with all my soul. Were do we fix this or is this fixable? I truely doubt that we can come out of these days of "who can make us hurt and bleed more". Where is AMERICA and how do we get it back?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  240. Allen Miller

    Perhaps recently–but compare the campaigns of the mid-19th century. Andrew Jackson, etc.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  241. Mike

    The Only reason why he would make such a nasty remark is to make white voters feel guilty if they don't vote for Obama in 2012. This is all part of the Liberal brainwashing strategy to get Obama re-elected in order to complete his destruction of the United States.

    Mike,
    San Diego, CA

    April 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  242. Karen

    No....... the 1860 Lincoln/Douglas election where Douglas sought to preserve slavery.... end result was the Civil War. Nevertheless, we should be so far beyond this race issue, but, shamefully, we are not.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  243. Michael in NM

    Anyone can mount an intelligent argument about a rising racism in the upcoming election. But I think it speaks to the larger issue of - WE are becoming a more angry people. These have been some tough times for everyone, and in our frustration we are readily biting back. The President has become highly unlikeable and anything he represents will be a target.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  244. jim renshaw

    The holy warriors of the "Tea Party" are certain to creat an environment in america that lives up to Mr. Smiley's prediction, and continue to embarrass this country in the eyes of the world. We will have nothing to smile about in this ultra-ugly election.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  245. Kim

    I'm sure that it will be. I feel sad.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  246. Brian

    I personally thank you for pointing this out.
    Democracy right now is slow, and I knew this is going to be a problem. this is because they are trying to slow pres. Obama down. This appears to be working considering his low ratings. Another thing is the birther movt. which has caught on because of trumps late entry. I know He knows his claims are stupid and baseless, but the attention its getting from the media every day is helping. this year has brought up some amusing and bonkers groups and people. this ESPECIALLY the teaparty movt. and I'm sorry to say they are catching on. the question is, what will we do about it ? what about the millions of unsuspecting Americans ? and by the way they've been handling things so far, I think they are racist and careless.I seriously think they are going to take this country to the DUMPS, or back to the civil rights days.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  247. Ralph Thompson

    ABSOLUTELY! People like Trump cleverly play to the latent racism that still influences so much of what happens at the highest levels of our government. The “Birther” issue would NEVER have occurred with a White President. The goal? Discourage this and any other person of color from seeking the Office of President in 2012 or beyond. The 1960’s are alive and well in politics…our leaders have simply become more effective in hiding it behind rhetoric and innuendo.

    Ralph in Texas

    April 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  248. Ccaspence

    I believe Tavis Smiley is right on target with his comments. Look at what's happening right now. Donald Trump's actions are only a precursor to what's to come during the 2012 elections.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  249. Ralph Thompson

    What our politicians don't seem to realize is that THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING! How can we be "model of democracy" when we cannot accept the results of our democratic process. This will be a very nasty electorial process. But that will be miniscule in comparison to the loss of respect and status that our hateful politicians will cost us on the world stage. What nation will respect a president who our own leadership describes as "the worst ever" and "ignorant of what he is doing"? Nations resolve issues at the leadership level, not the political party level!

    Ralph in Texas

    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  250. Emily

    Hi Jack,

    As an outsider watching this "birther" movement, it's very clear that there's all about a portion of the US population that 'can't believe that there's a Black Man in the White House'.
    It looks like 2012 is going to be really ugly, not only for the reasons that you mentioned, but also because I don’t see that one person who the GOP can all get behind.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  251. brojake

    yes he's right. it already started..please.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  252. Betty Simpkins

    It will be a mud-slinging election w/race, money & creed included. And we want to lead the world! It truly is "don't do as I do–do as I say you should do!" Betty Simpkins, Lexington, Kentucky

    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  253. Andy for Philadelphia PA

    If everything progresses as it has been then he's absolutley correct. I'm 19, not registered to vote, with little knowledge or interest in politics, but even I can see that this country needs to shape up. Here in Philly we know how ill mannered and bad tempered people can be, but we also know that somewhere along the line there has to be a little more "give" and a little less "take". Takes how big problems get solved. Now if only the "intelligent operators" in Washington could learn this things might turn out a bit different.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  254. Ralph Spyer

    It will not be the ugliest ,President Lincoln was called every name in the book,FDR was called a communist,JFK was in bed with the Pope The presidential race will be the most racist because he just happen to be our first black President.'

    April 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  255. CoaCoac1

    YES: I believe he hit the nail on the head, And the Race is already HISTORIC, have you ever seen so many REPUBLICANS running against a DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT as long as i've been on this earth I have never seen this before, could it be it's because he's black and they think, he doesn't have another chance?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  256. Laura

    Even if it isn't many on the left will claim it is. People seem to ignore the fact that Americans did elect Barack Obama. He couldn't have been elected if so many of us were racist. As to the tea party being full of haters, did anyone see the protesters who were out there calling the tea partiers all kinds of viscious filthy names? They cllaim the tea party does hateful things but have trouble coming up with the evidence.Calling people racist is the far left's last resort in any argument. If you cant make your argument on its merit – just imply the other side has a racial motivation.
    Laura
    Hawthorne, CA

    April 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  257. Richard Russell

    Mr Cafferty I would have to agree with Mr. Tavis Smiley on his claim, look at how things are to date. Never once has such a big deal been made about any Presidents birth place as it had been with Obama. Also look at member of both parties and how they've fought agaisnt his policys "This is a racial move".
    In my life time I have never witnessed such racial motivated comments, moves and disrespect. Just thus week the speaker of the house committed about our President needs to grow up. "such disrespect" other refer to him as Mr Obama vs President Obama, another form of disrespect. He clearly shows the willingness to reach out and work with the other side and because of who he is, he's rejected.
    Non of this would be going on if President Obama looked like the other 43. And on the other hand it will continue as long as President Obama look the other way and refuse to deal with this race issue head on.

    Richard Russell

    April 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  258. vince westampton nj

    Why ask the question? He has already given us the answer..This is an effort to pre-empt criticism of Obama by threatening to call those who would bring up his broken promises and failures racists.Any and all criticism of Obama will be proof for Mr.Smiley.This kind of thing is intended to intimidate and get people to self-censor.Transparent as it is I am sure Smiley's game will work.Since you have asked this question ,it already has.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  259. Elizabeth in Los Angeles

    Frankly, I resent Mr. Smiley bringing this up so soon, as correct as his assessment might ultimately be. Some people hear or read something and automatically assume that because the person or medium delivering the message has some credibility, the message must be true.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  260. Alan C

    Yes. The Tea Party has shown it has no shame, no regard for the facts and certainly no respect for President Obama. In the long run they will fail because groups like this eat their own.
    Tucson, AZ

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  261. Have Mercy on U. S. A. barton MS

    Jack Mr. Smith is correct, I thank about your book it's getting UGLY out there. In my 71 years I believe that this will the most RACIST, uglyest, under-Godly persidental election in the history in the WORLD. The reason is because many people don't like a BLACK President. This election will be the worst thing happen sence they Cruificed our Lord and Savor Jesus Christ.
    Have Mercy

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  262. Quidproquotes

    Of course Mr. Smiley is correct and the sad thing is that despite this sort of behavior being well known and documented, the race peddler's of the world are still able to capitalize on this fact. Not more than a week ago we saw a Republican party member/Tea Party activist forwarding emails that compared Obama to a monkey in reference to him not having a birth certificate. Not only was Marilyn Davenport guilty of this infraction, but post inauguration she apparently set a precedence for emailing racist material without retribution. More and more this type of thing is becoming acceptable content to advance an agenda; this exact sort of idealism is how Hitler was able to further his cause. If this is the future for America, I want no parts of this; take my birth certificate, passport and drivers license. Let's get back to the politics and leave racism and Jim Crow in the 1960's where they belong.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  263. Joyce H

    I believe Tavis Smiley's assumption is correct. I have never seen nor heard of any president who was so blatantly disrespected as President Obama. If the president has to be scrutinized on every aspect of his life, then all those aspiring to be president should be held under the same accountibility. None of us could have taken on the problems that he inherited (natural disasters) included and handled them as calmly as he has. Yet, there are those who still blame him and this administration for every wrong that was committed in the past by others. I don't know of any other country who disrespects their president, ruler, queen, dictator, or whatever as much as the United States. We are not going to like everything that the Republicans nor Democrats do, but we can be civil to each other and show the world that democracy does work. A divided nation based on untruths and prejudices will not stand very long.
    As Americans were are better than this. Let's us each examine our own hearts.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  264. Wayne in Houston

    Of course Smiley is right. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see what is going on under the banner of "freedom speech" and "freedom of expression".

    There comes a time when these freedoms that many have died for are abused and what is going on now is no exception.

    Sources of insidious and inflammatory messages include the so-called "Tea Party" movement, the Rush Limbaughs, Anne Coulters and Glen Becks of America's fascist extreme. Now add to that a joker like Donald Trump. Yes he has a mouth, an opinion and a lot of money but without a shred of integrity he lacks the single most important quality in a President.

    Although not of a Republican economic persuasion, I cannot help but empathize with the sensible people in that party's leadership as these "distractions" continue to pop up. Still, they have not exactly distanced themselves from these vierwpoints either.

    God help us in the election of 2012. Hopefully the sensible and decent among the electroate will prevail and give the US the President it needs at this juncture in history.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  265. ron

    the 2012 presidential election will certainly be the most raciest election in the history of our country America, without a doubt, especially when it comes to every branch of our government from the supreme court right down to the cop who walks the street and most certainly those so called Americans who back them and this also includes the Tea Party members. America as we once knew it is on its way down and out and we have nobody to blame except outselves.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  266. John

    No.

    People are too worried to be PC to be overtly racists. See this whole birther movement for an example of the new PC way to be racist.

    This will be ugly because of the intensity and polarization of the political discourse that is now normal. Racism fuels some of this polarization but the fact that so many people are hurting and there is a disconnect between the government and the people.

    I am more worried about the aftermath when people see corporations will flat out buy politicians. It might wake people up to take their country back from the greedy people who have ruined it over the last 10-15 years.

    John
    San Jose, CA

    April 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  267. Lois, Ontario, CANADA

    Absolutely Yes, It has started already & the election campaign hasn't even started yet!!!!

    April 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  268. Diana Block

    Recall that there were questions raised about John McCain's birth in the Panama Canal zone. There are numerous articles posted online about his "birth scandal" also. Of course since he didn't win it fizzled out due to lack of relevance, but the point is, his birth was challenged as well. Does that indicate racism again John McCain? Or is it just a political tactic of muddying the waters with a distraction? Silly, sure, but racist? Just because the President is black doesn't mean any and everything that is said about him is racist. He is not the only political candidate that has been attacked for imaginary reasons, it sort of comes with the job.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  269. dale

    Tavis is spot on with his 2012 election prediction. There is a sense of underlying hate and prejudice among many of the “privileged” males, even the ones who pretend to have put racism aside. I see it in my work colleagues whom I supervise; I see it among many of my customers, my peers and managers. It will be at least three or four more generations before most of the “birthers”, the anti affirmative action population and the anti foreigners are washed out of American society. There are some of the privileged population who have expressed their desire to see terrible things happen to the president, can you believe that?! There are some terrible people out there among the Tee party and extreme right pretending to be patriotic Americans.

    Dale

    April 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  270. Nancy, Sarasota FL

    He's probably right. The fact that Trump is leading in the polls because he insinuates that the President got into Harvard because he is black, does not bode well. Today Trump told the President to "get off the basketball court" and call OPEC. Really. That should help his poll numbers even more. Does Trump really think no one recognizes his racist "code"?

    April 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  271. Michael Sr.

    We have reached an unfortunate crossroads in our republic. I agree that 2012 election will predictably be the nastiest election we will ever see. That will be in part by apathy on the part of sensible minds and responsible journalists. People are allowing nonsense to monopolize the airways and it seems journalism has degraded to tabloid reporting. I used to trust CNN to be the level head in marginalizing fallacies that misdirect the public from real and important issues in our nation. The rise of rhetoric spewing people like the Donald Trumps, and Palin's have proven the "dumbing down of America" trend to be real. If the Republican or Tea parties have no "real" candidates to run against the President in 2012, we should not allow the office of the presidency to be attacked, President Obama disrespected by what is obviously racially motivated personal attacks, and the intellect of sensible American's to be insulted. It is time we begin to take a critical look at why we have taken this turn towards mental numbness when we need brilliance to help us out of these poor economic times. When you want to find the true character of an entity, add stress and see what characteristic rises to the top. I'm disappointed in what I am seeing.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  272. joel

    what tavis fails to realize is the tea party doesnt need to do anything to ensure president obama wont be elected,he already took care of that.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  273. Richard

    Atlanta, Georgia
    I agree the campaign will be ugly but not due to racism. Tea party members, Republicans and conservative Democrats do not want our current President re-elected because of his policies. People are passionate and if you believe we are headed in the wrong direction it is not only your right but your duty to implement change. Disagreeing with someone DOES NOT make you a racist. Carrying a gun does not make you a racist; calling someone a name does not make you a racist. Racism is the belief that you are superior to another person or group simply by the race you were born to. It's that simple. I worry more violence will come from Union members and groups like The Black Panthers which have overwhelmingly shown they are not only willing to use it but count on it to get their point across. Remember Madison, Wisconsin.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  274. Lora dePlante

    Bigotry is blind and self-righteous, coupled with cowardice and the unwillingness to not only believe and/or research facts, then yes..... The republicans will become fodder for our stand-up comics. What is worse is the fall out when friends, family and co-workers turn on each other. There is a 'stupid and proud of it' virus in America and the 2012 election will only exacerbate it – the only antidote is intelligent objectivity

    April 27, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  275. Vicki Scott

    Tavis Smiley is correct on all points. We're seeing a nation becoming so divided because of President Obama's race. Never before in history have the Republicans not accepted an elected President by the people for the people. Stop the hatred and work for a better USA.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  276. james

    It is apparent that the standards of the respect for the office of the Presidency changed once Obama took office. It can only be attributed to racism when a senator can call the President of the United States of America a liar with no reprecussions. Then after doing so the perputrator gets over a million dollars donated to his campaign. You can call it whatever you like but we all see what is going on in America now. Instead of discussing the billions of dollars given to oil companies as subsidies we are talking about a birth certificate while the oil companies rake the public over the coals with higher gas prices. This president has had to deal with unprecedented hate and whenever he tries to take the country forward everything about him is questioned. He is black and so many Americans can not handle that. So soon they forgot who got us in the financial mess and put the culprits right back in office because they couldn't fathom this country being run by a black president. I blame the media as well as how they can allow fox news to broadcast lies every single day and no one is calling them on it. Racism has reared its ugly head.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  277. David H

    I respect Tavis Smiley, however with few exceptions I do not believe an African American can be objective about Presidend Obama's performance as President or those that critcize him. My experience with black colleagues is that their mental and emotional investment in President Obama's success is so extreme that any criticism of him which they believe is unfair is automatically classifed as "racist". Castigating those in the Tea Party or those that agree with many Tea Party concerns as racists is the easiest way for a liberal or believer in President Obama to ignore the problems created or exacerbated by his policies.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  278. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I think it is too early to predict "ugly" here mainly because it is a weak prediction anyway when we fully expect ugly as in the last presidential election, including racial references. We voters know there will be no disappointment on this.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  279. Amer I. Can

    Yes, Tavis is absolutely correct. 2008 was only a glimpse. Many didn't believe a black man could actually win. Now that one has, the gloves will be off for 2012 at ALL COST and nothing.....NOTHING will be off limits no matter how untrue or fabricated. Everything will be thrown on the wall to see what sticks and it will be ran with for as long as it can be and on to the next slanderous act with reckless regard how obvious they're views and actions become in perfect harmony with the days of Jim Crow. A lot of racism that hasn't been seen because it's been hybernating under the rug is now going to awaken. Hopefully, our citizens have grown in the area of civil rights enough to tranquilize this racism demon plagueing our country. It will take generations to kill what took generations to create. Sadly, Tavis is spot on.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  280. Tim in Texas

    Given what happened today, do you really need to ask this question. Our president, the president of this country, the president who was elected by a majority of our citizens, who put out proof, solid proof, proof that would have done just fine for any other president, was faced with such persistent racist, bigoted, disgusting, malicious accusations – accusations with absolutely no basis in fact, that he felt compelled to have to go well beyond what any other elected official would have to do in similar circumstances. What a sad day for this country. And, by the way, Ed Henry should be fired for asking why the president didn't put out his birth certificate. Why didn't he? Because he already DID. Three years ago.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  281. Rich Barry

    With a President of mixed color why wouldn't the next election be the most racist in history. The haters are out there and will be banging the drums in the next election. I didn't vote for the President but I wish him well for the sake of my children and grand children. I will let history be his judge but in the meantime he has my full support.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  282. Jane - WI

    The 2008 election was already nasty.
    The vitriol that came out of Barack Obama was incredible as he bashed George Bush and Republicans non-stop.

    we already see hints of him using these nasty tactics again in the next election. As far as racism is concerned,we saw race on full display as over 90% of blacks voted for him. That strange one party vote by a particular race screams of racism.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  283. Paul L. Coston Jr.

    I hope that Mr. Smiley is wrong. However, it seems that he could be right. When Mr. Trump wanted to be a part of the ownership of a casino in Connecticut he questioned the nationality of an Native American who also had "natural rights" to be a part of the ownership. It seens as though he needs more money. Maybe he will use his money to send his kids to a IVY League School, if they can get in. He needs to drop this foolish game as quickly as he dropped Ms. Maples before the pre-mutial agreement kicked in. Rosie O'Donnel where are you. We nned you right now.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  284. Bobby E. Lahmon Jackson MS

    It never ended from the 08 election and as the years go by it keeps getting worse because it has left the fringe and is slowly grepping into mainstream the question should be is how bad will it gets if he reelected in 2012

    April 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  285. Jane - WI

    We saw nasty politics played when George Bush was President. That man was subjected to the nastiest, most vile comments we have seen in a long time. Not to mention the lies that were told about him by Democrats and their allies in the media (the same media that did everything they could to elect Obama). wouldn't it have been nice if the media had spent half the amount of time they spent investigating Sarah Palin or trying to bring down Donald Trump on actually looking into the past of Barack Obama.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  286. dee

    The racists are'nt going to give in that easily ,because they are afraid that Karma will come for them. They can fight all they want ,but if Karma is going to come then it is going to come.

    Dee

    Houston, TX

    April 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  287. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack nothing Smiley says is racist. The man is simply stating a few well known facts. Obama being the worst president ever has nothing to do with his color it has to do with his ability as a leader which he is deficient in. His skin color has nothing to do with it. He would be just as incompetent had he been born green.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  288. AKR

    Jack I was hopping u posed such question. Am not an American but I love your country and fascinated by your politics wishing only the best for your country, but when heard Donald Trump want to now question the intelligence of President Obama gave me a sick and very angry feeling inside because the truth is all these absurd, shameful, hurtful baseless and disrespectful comments are being made only because your president is BLACK. Simley is right, this next election will be nasty but most of all very racist……….some things will never change

    AKR
    From an Island In the Caribbean

    April 27, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  289. ron

    I commend Mr Smiely for his comments. He is so right 1000%.
    Our government officials and represenatives and the tea paRTY MEMBERS lead the way in this raciest thing. It also goes to show that when Rodger Moore said that 80% of the American people are ignorant, biased and predjudiced, he was right too. I am a white person and I can see the truth. This may cause the down fall of this nation and we deserve it to the full extent. Most of us anyway. The USA has become the cespool of the world.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  290. Rick James

    Tavis Smiley’s remarks about the next election might be creditable; however it comes from Smiley who is liberal. Did we see his condemnation of MoveOn.org when Bush was president? Why the tea party and not MoveOn.org. Maybe the real problem with the elections going ugly is bias journalism and not party support groups. Come on CNN most of us aren’t that stupid.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  291. Jean Mazgaj

    President Obama has faced the ugliest racial profiling from the first moment he became a contender for the presidency. No other president has had to deal with dispicable racist contention in his own country especially through the Republican party. This is a clue to how racist our society has become. He has shown what a great President he is and will easily win a next term despite his racial profiling.
    God bless you Mr. Presdient.

    April 27, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  292. Rich

    Mmmmm...Could be!

    April 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  293. Zack-Austin, Texas

    Yes Jack, the presidential race witl not only be the most racist, but also the most stupid. I can't beleive some of stuff that I have already seen on TV and in the newspapers. The state of Texas has a lot of them.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  294. B.A from Florida

    Of course it will be the ugliest With so many controversial issues and a plethora of mudslinging techniques, these candidates will stop at no costs to win the election. Mr. Trump's senseless attacks are only a foreshadow of what is to come

    April 27, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  295. Jan Kenney

    This is not about race. The election is about who will lead us out of this mess. Pres. Obama is not the one. Not because of race, but because of his inability to be an effective leader. His lack of the necessary life experience to forfill his role. I only hope another candidate appears that will fill the bill.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  296. maggie

    Tavis Smiley is correct. Donald Trump has now shown who he really is – a racist who will stop at nothing to grab the attention of the throngs of hate mongers in our country.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  297. jeane

    Yep!

    April 27, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  298. Krush from AZ

    The 2012 presidential race will be the second statement by Americans to remind our elected leaders that they work for us, not the other way around (the mid term elections of 2010 were the first statement). It will be ugly, divisive, and the race card will be played because the media, including Tavis Smiley, want to make it an issue. The real issue is that the majority of Americans don't want our nation to continue on the path of the statist-elite agenda that has been the bread and butter of Democrats and Republicans since the Roosevelt administration. The Obama administration has shown ineptitude in dealing with rising energy costs, stimulating job growth, the BP oil spill, and has now put us into another open-ended, ill defined, and costly war in Libya. Hope and change? Please! Give me a candidate that will make the big corporations (like GE) and 47% of Americans pay their fair share of income tax, outlaw lobbying, get rid of welfare and entitlements, and get the government out of my wallet. Then, I might believe in the hope and change business. My vote will go elsewhere.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  299. Charlie of Portland

    Let's hope Smiley is wrong...... BUT, given the depths the Republicans are obviously willing nosedive into, we'll have to deal with much racism. According to many polls, the majority of people under 40 yrs of age are color-blind & against racism. And, of course, Hispanics are quite offended by Republican racism. So, hey, maybe we'll see a thorough repudiation of the Republican Party = Their candidates must appeal to their basest during the primaries..... which will cost them many many votes in the general election. Jack, kudos to you for writing about this now! We Americans really need to go Full-Frontal in confronting Racism, in attempting to heal the divisions sea to sea– the whole world is watching, this includes non-white people who currently buy American-made products.

    April 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  300. Pat

    Jack,

    Did you sit the last election out? And what were you thinkingf when you heard the "Bullying Party" say that it was going to do everything it could make President Obama a one term president? Additionallly, the "Tea Party" is code for the "Moral Majority" and other noun like names.

    Stay tuned Jack.

    Pat, Fayettenam, NC

    April 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm |