Contextual Content

Fear of Islam hurts Obama in Kentucky

Voters in Kentucky explain why they voted the way they did. Many believe race is a deciding factor, others question Obama’s "patriotism." In an unfiltered fashion, voters express extreme ideas that are rarely expressed openly in the media. One black voter says there is a split between city and rural people, saying city people are more open-minded. This urban rural split could play a critical role in the upcoming presidential elections.

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Story Transcript

MATTHEW PALEVSKY, JOURNALIST, TRNN: I’m standing in Kentucky, where Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic primary by 35 percent of the vote, carrying more than 70 percent of white voters. Exit polls show that race has played a larger role here than in previous states. More than a fifth of voters say that race was a factor for them, and of those, 88 percent voted for Hillary Clinton.

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TINA: I’m a hardcore Democrat, and I refuse to vote for Obama.

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ROSE: I don’t like to think it, but it’s true. I think people, we still have our prejudices against black people.

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PALEVSKY: And do you think America’s ready to have a black president?

GEORGE: Some of them are.

PALEVSKY: Are you?

GEORGE: No.

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PALEVSKY: Do you think Democrats will rally behind Obama?

BUD: Well, I think most of the cities will, but, you know, out in the state, I kind of doubt it.

PALEVSKY: Why?

BUD: Well, city people think different. You know, they can kind of let go and stuff. And then, when people, a long time ago, when they was in the south, there was a solid south, I don’t think they’ve ever let go of them issues.

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GEORGE: If John Edwards or any other white man had said the same thing Obama is saying, Clinton would have wrapped this up months ago. There would have been no contest. It’s a race issue—97 percent of the blacks voting for Obama.

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RESIDENT : We’ve never had a female president, we’ve never had a black president, and it’s about time that this country has some change. You know, everybody’s free, everybody’s equal here, you know, and it’s about time that the presidency reflects that as well.

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PALEVSKY: Most people I spoke to said race was not a factor in who they voted for, although many voice concerns over Obama’s Muslim heritage and what some continue to say is his hidden belief system.

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CAROLYN: Barack Obama, I like some of the things he says, but his religious background scares me to death.

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RICKY: I think his true father was a Muslim, and I don’t agree with his points of view.

PALEVSKY: Do you think he believes in the Muslim practice?

RICKY: I know I don’t think he knows better than to admit he does. Over time, the Muslims have claimed they were also going to strike us from within, in our own government. So if he is, there it would be, wouldn’t it?

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GEORGE: Can’t be a good American and be a Muslim. If he is a Muslim, he can’t be a good American, for the simple reason there’s a clash between American values and the Koran.

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CAROLYN: I have read some things. I can’t quote exactly what I’ve read, but I’ve gotten on the Internet and looked up a few things, you know, or maybe it would just be on the AOL News and things. And to me it looks like he’s leading that way. His history, seems like I read something about maybe his stepfather was Muslim or his father was Muslim. And, you know, granted, maybe he isn’t. Everybody can change. You know. I just don’t know. But with what has happened in the United States since 9/11, anything associated in that area scares me.

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RICKY: I went to his website and checked his church out, and they’re not American—they’re African-American. And that’s what they—they don’t want to claim "American"; they want to be "African-American." Well, I want people that want to be American, not bring in beliefs from elsewhere. I just don’t like the attitude they had at things. What I’ve seen on that website there alone was very disturbing to me.

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PALEVSKY: While people’s prejudices and fears have thankfully not been the central dynamic of this Democratic primary, Barack Obama will likely have to address these problems more directly in the future, as the segment of the voting population where there is racism and where innuendos flourish will only increase as we shift into the general election.

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WILL: I think as time goes on, you know, people will begin to realize that we’re so much more alike than we are different. I think Kentucky’s going to move forward and progress toward intellectual differences and educational differences, as opposed to ethnic and other differences that we really probably shouldn’t be judging people on.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.