Annette John-Hall: How can Nutter sidestep Obama?
Transcendent. Unifier. Reformist. Inspirational. YouTube darling. No, I'm not talking about Barack Obama. Even if everyone else is. While the Obama Express is rolling this way fast, change and hope already have unpacked in Philly.
No, I'm not talking about Barack Obama. Even if everyone else is.
While the Obama Express is rolling this way fast, change and hope already have unpacked in Philly.
Our own Mayor Nutter, known for his bold style, straight talk, and coalition-building, like Obama, got some national face time on
ABC World News Tonight
this week. He was introduced by anchor Charles Gibson as the mayor who is "making a lot of changes and a lot of friends."
It feels refreshing, this young, new kind of African American politicians - Nutter, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty - leaders who don't make race their only talking points.
Both Booker and Fenty have endorsed Obama, not surprising since he's almost a mirror image of them.
But the man who probably draws the most comparisons to him - from his inclusive politics to his Ivy League training to his ability to transcend race - isn't supporting Obama.
You can hear Nutter now. Hillary, it's a new day.
Against the tide
Let's see. Nutter's mixmaster twin is racking up primary wins like a political pool shark, on the verge of making history. A groundswell of voters - black, white and everything in between, heck, even my 20-year-old son - are jumping on.
And, Mr. Mayor, you're not on board.
So how could I not ask?
Did you get on the train to Presumed Winner when you meant to take the one to the Promised Land, Mr. Mayor?
He looked at me like I was from another planet.
"No," he replied. "I've met Sen. Obama and admire him. My choice was based on who I thought would be the best for Philly, and I think Sen. Clinton is that person."
Then he went on to rattle off all the ways that he and Obama were alike.
"We both ran on change and reform. We were able to bring together the old and the new across racial and cultural boundaries.
"We can make a statement with our vote as long as we let a candidate be a candidate, and not fall into stereotypes."
Which, I guess, is what voters did for him.
Still pondering his train is local NAACP president J. Whyatt Mondesire.
"You step out in the community and you're bombarded by all this Obama-itis," Mondesire says. "And when you ask people to tell you something about him, they shrug.
"I think it's naive and unfair to criticize politicians because they endorse a candidate while the public moves in another direction."
Mondesire is waiting for Obama to address "the structural inequality of black people." Wasn't Obama a former poverty activist in Chicago? Still waiting at the station?
He says he's undecided and will know when he goes into the voting booth. But there's one big thing he likes about Hillary.
"Bill will be there and he knows how to run the country."
Sounds like a vote of confidence for Bill, I mean, Hillary, to me. Solutions, not speeches.
Taking her seat on the Obama Express is Yvonne Thompson-Friend, executive director of Childspace CDI and former chief of staff to late State Rep. David Richardson.
"It became important to decide which one would give the most hope to the person who had lost faith in a system that was supposed to be working for them. For me, that person is Obama," says Thompson-Friend, who says she considered becoming a delegate for Clinton.
"I don't think [Nutter] should feel like he's on the wrong side, because you have to make a decision for who you think is best," she says. "The important thing is that the mayor makes connections with the nominee - no matter who the winner might be."