Jeff Jacoby
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Racial McCarthyism is alive and well in Barack Obama's America, where reckless liberals hurl baseless charges of racism at critics of the nation's first black president. Remember ex-president Jimmy Carter attributing "an overwhelming portion" of the fervent opposition to Obama's health-care bill to "the fact that he is a black man"? Or actress/activist Janeane Garofalo smearing the Tea Party phenomenon as being "about hating a black man in the White House . . . racism straight up"? Or for that matter Obama himself, predicting that Republicans would demonize him because "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills"?

Last week it was David Gregory's turn to play the race card. The host of NBC's "Meet the Press" accused Newt Gingrich of having used "coded, racially-tinged language" when he described Obama as a "food-stamp president" a few days earlier.

Actually Gingrich hadn't made anything like a racially-tinged remark, coded or otherwise. He had simply given his stump speech to a Republican audience in Georgia, during which he criticized Obama's limp economic record in these words:

"Do you want to be a country that creates food stamps -- in which case, frankly, Obama is an enormous success, the most successful food stamp president in American history? Or do you want to be a country that creates paychecks?"

Gregory played a video clip of that passage from Gingrich's speech, then demanded that the former speaker explain its supposed racial subtext. Gingrich couldn't believe Gregory was serious -- "Oh, come on, David! That's bizarre, this kind of automatic reference to racism." He pointed out that what he had said "is factually true: 47 million Americans are on food stamps. One out of every six Americans is on food stamps. And to hide behind the charge of racism!?"

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Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for Townhall.com.