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The Right's Obsession With Obama the Flirt

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We're not saying it's racist, but...


Obama and Thorning-Schmidt
(image by Fang Zhe/ZUMA; Elephant: umnola/Shutterstock. Photoillustration by Matt Connolly.)
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It is often hard to connect actions to racism -- and sometimes it is hard not to. When conservative activists and leaders excitedly contend that the first black American elected president was secretly born overseas and, consequently, is a pretender to the office, it certainly is difficult to ignore racism as a possible contributing motive. (These same people are in no uproar about Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's birth in Canada.) And when President Barack Obama is repeatedly branded a sexed-up flirt, despite the evidence he is a stand-up family guy, a similar query is unavoidable: Is race a factor?

The conservative New York Post this week has done extra duty to promote the idea that the president is a cad (and Michelle Obama is the resentful, jealous, and bossy wife). After photos emerged of Obama taking a selfie with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (with British PM David Cameron the third wheel) and the first lady looking displeased, the media was all abuzz, and Rupert Murdoch's paper led the way with its front-page coverage pitched with this witty headline: "Flirting with Dane-ger." The next day, Post columnist Andrea Peyser pushed the story -- and the already widely spread meme -- further. In an article headlined, "Flirty Obama Owes Us an Apology," she ranted that Obama had "lost his morality, his dignity and his mind, using the solemn occasion of Nelson Mandela's memorial service Tuesday to act like a hormone-ravaged frat boy on a road trip to a strip bar." She referred to the Danish leader as a "hellcat" and pegged the needle in sexualizing this story: "Thorning-Schmidt placed her hands dangerously close to Obama's side. The president's cackling head moved inches from the Danish tart's and yards away from his wife's. Obama then proceeded to absorb body heat from the Dane, which he won't be feeling at home for a long time." Meet Obama, the lustful and wild predator who cannot control his urges at a solemn occasion.

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David Corn is  Mother Jones ' Washington bureau chief. For more of his stories,  click here . He's also  on  Twitter  and  FacebookRSS  |    David is (more...)
 

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