In several interviews with The Atlantic, Obama said he felt more confident about his presidential run in 2008 because he hadn’t been targeted yet by Fox News and conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh.
“I think I should point out in terms of both my confidence that I could win in ’08 but also the fact that I was lucky and maybe a little bit naive: In 2008 I was never subjected to the kind of concentrated vilification of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, the whole conservative-media ecosystem, and so as a consequence, even for my first two years as a senator I was polling at 70 percent,” Obama told The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates in an interview published Tuesday.
But, he said, stereotypes about African-American politicians and liberals — “some image of me as trying to take away their stuff and give it to black people, and coddle criminals” — quickly began to take hold.
“You started to see that kind of prism being established towards the end of the 2008 race, particularly once Sarah Palin was the [vice presidential] nominee. And obviously almost immediately after I was elected, it was deployed in full force. And it had an impact in terms of how a large portion of white voters would see me.”
The interviews — with parts released over Tuesday and Wednesday — were used in The Atlantic’s cover story, “My President was Black,” published last week. The exchange was highlighted by Mediaite.