June 19th, 2008
12:35 PM ET
6 years ago

Roberts: The Obamacons

CNN

Watch John Roberts discuss Sen. Obama's historic candidacy with Armstrong Williams.

NEW YORK (CNN) - Conservative talk radio host Armstrong Williams has never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. In fact, he says he has never even thought about the opposition. But this year – as Williams told me on today’s American Morning - things might be different. At the very least, he is thinking about the opposition. A lot. “You cannot help but look at and realize,” he told me, “that if Senator Obama wins, it’ll be the first time that someone would occupy the White House other than white men of America.”

For many Americans, that’s a heady thought – one that could be transformational in so many ways. Yet at the same time, Williams insists, Obama’s race is not a factor in his seesawing political emotions. “There’s no way I could vote for a candidate because of his race”, Williams said, “because it would contradict everything I’ve ever written and said in the past about racial politics. But, I’m open”.

So can we believe that race isn’t a factor in this rock-ribbed Republican’s potential conversion, particularly since Williams says about Obama’s policies “there’s not much I can embrace now”? Let’s consider former Republican Congressman J.C. Watts’ thoughts on the matter. Watts is one of a number of “Obamacons” – conservatives, including many African-Americans, who are giving the Senator a good, hard look. Obamacons believe he may be the best-equipped to take on poverty and urban policy, issues that are as important to them as low taxes and constructionist judges. Williams told me today “It would be foolish of me to say you cannot look at his candidacy and realize there’s something here that not only America but the world is ecstatic about.”

Obamacons believe he may be good for what ails the nation and the world.

As enticing as it might seem, the Obama medicine would be tough for Republicans to swallow. Pundits joke that the Senator’s policies make Ted Kennedy look like a conservative. Could they really set aside his views on taxes and abortion? Could they ignore the type of judges he would appoint to the Supreme Court? At this point, Williams isn’t sure. He hopes Obama might make enough progress on issues like capital gains and partial birth abortion to make him comfortable, but so far, there’s no suggestion of that. But William’s 82 year-old mother is committed. “She’s determined, and she’s voting for him,” he told me. “She never thought she would live to see the day that she would see the progress of America where we could show people that we’ve moved beyond this silly issue of race.” And for Obamacons, that may be the deciding factor.

soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Franky

    "Pundits joke that the Senator’s policies make Ted Kennedy look like a conservative."

    I tell you what, my boy's policies makes our policies look like the old GI Bill than the new one.........you know, without benefits, security, pride, sacrifice, money, school, etc. Is like reading a full book without reading one chapter, LOL!!!! You know, because is not your style, LOL!!!

    June 19, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Joe Regis

    I mean anybody can see it.

    He is a man of this time.

    Go Obama go!

    June 19, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. obamacan!

    it's obamaCAN. con is not our business.can is our business.obama+ republiCAN= obamacan.get it right,roberts!

    June 19, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Open-mindedness how refreshing!

    It was good to hear that the two candidates sat with each other and were having a cordial discussion at Mr. Russerts funeral.

    These candidates could raise the level of political discourse, so that we could have an actual civil conversation about the important issues that face this great nation.

    It's a tall order.......................let's see if we can raise, instead of further lower, the bar this time.

    June 19, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. obamacan!

    thank you!

    June 19, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. CONROY

    I DON'T TRUST THIS GUY. THIS MIGHT ANOTHER PLOY OF HIS, YOU DON'T AGREE WITH HIM ON THE ISSUES, YET YOU THINKING ABOUT VOTING FOR HIM, HMMM. THIS GUY CAN'T BE TRUSTED

    June 19, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. C from Texas

    Another black person that will vote for Obama because of the color of his skin. Good reason too vote for someone...right. people should wake up and vote for who can run this country better and stop trying to make history.

    Guess I'll vote for the white guy because he's white.

    McCain "08

    June 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. john fom LA

    So why isn't an Obamacon not a racist?-if they've had a rep. mentality all along-why change position now? Color the deciding factor?-or really is the decision based on policy issues-I would hope it would be the latter.

    This will be interesting to see play out.

    June 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Vivian, VA

    In this crazy election season, we will even accept Armstongs' vote. Come on aboard, brother. For the first time I can honestly say that I agree with you. I would never vote for someone because of their race either. And I am a black woman.

    I'm voting for Barack because he is the right person for the job.

    Obama 08

    June 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    I HAVE A NEW GROUP THAT SUPPORTS OBAMA.

    AMERICAS

    FOR THE FIRST TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY, WE

    AS A PEOPLE ARE UNITED BEHIND A CANDIDATE,

    THAT IS JUST GOOD FOR ALL OF US. NOT ALL THE

    WEALTHY, WANT THIS NATION TO GO DOWN THE

    TUBES, SO AS TO MAKE ANOTHER BUCK. WE WOULD

    BE GLAD TO PAY MORE TAXES TO REPAIR & HEAL THE,

    A NATION AND AND A PEOPLE WE ALL LOVE.

    June 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Canadian

    Makes sense.....because Obama could be the first 'black' president you should all vote for him. Who cares about gas or your terrible economy? Just vote because hes black. No wonder Americans tore their country apart....

    June 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Andy J, NY

    Nobody who holds the founding principles of this country dear could vote for Obama.

    The fact that someone would consider Obama for president, merely because it would be the first time an afro-american would be president is clearly basing that thought purely on race.

    Its wrong, disgusting, and un-American.

    Obama is a socialist, which is also un-american.

    Wake up, you blind babbling sheep.

    We dont need McCain or Obama, we need a person who believes in what the Founding Fathers believed.

    June 19, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Phil in KC

    There are many of us who support Sen. Obama who reject the label "Obamacon". I'm not enamoured of the idea of Barack Obama. I like him, but it's all about the issues for me. And Barack Obama is way closer to my point of view than John McCain. The fact that he is eloquent and gives a good stump speech is just icing on the cake. To me, race is not an issue. He could white, brown, yellow or pink with purple polka-dots, for all I care.

    June 19, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    CNN PLEASE PRINT THIS

    Yes Obama will make history as the first black President in the white house.

    He will also make history when he continues for the blacks , more food
    stamps, more low cost housing, free health care, unempleoyment
    while they all sit home on their butts, drive new cars and buy designer
    clothes while we the tax payers pay for their free benefits.Do you think
    because they have elected a black President that will give them the
    initiative to better themselves. NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.

    June 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Obamacon 2

    My dog in this hunt was Chuck Hagel – but when you look at who would stick to the constituent, cares about the poor and urban policies; cares about the US infrastructure, has only flip-flopped once (compared to John "can't remember where I stood 3 weeks ago" McCain). It’s a no brainier...

    Note: Moving Positions versus Reversing Positions are 2 different things…

    Obama/Hagel 08

    June 19, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. aware

    Obamacons are in love with a myth created and a candidate anointed by the extreme left-wing media and the Democratic Party.

    The United States of America is being de-Americanized, and Obama would accelerate this sad process! :(

    If you are turned on by an AA for president, Colin Powel or Condi Rice would be authentic choices for the White House or the VP slot.

    Obama is biracial but his wife is AA. He is just an arrogant, elitist who obfuscates and avoids straight talk. :(

    This former Democrat will not vote for Obama.

    June 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Sheri in Louisville, KY

    O. K. Nice article: What else?

    Just OBAMA 08

    June 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. ALLBAMALLTHETIME

    I am an OBAMACON TIL DEATH DO ME PART! Just love dat man.

    June 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Ralph

    It's Obamacan, not Obamacon. Does any one proff-read this stuff before putting it out? Sloppy!

    June 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. Adam

    And people say that Obama's skin colour is a disadvantage...

    June 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Pat Riot

    Uhh no. What you are referring to are the neo-cons. The big government, foreign involvement, spin campaign liberals that have infultrated the party. True conservatives would never back a socialist for president. We believe in free markets, limited government, balanced budgets and individual liberty for all. Obama represents none of these.

    June 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. I have never heard of this GUY

    Well I'm a 45 year old african american male and I have never heard or even seen Mr. Williams until today, in fact when I clicked on the interview and saw him I clicked off of it he's kinda hard on the eyes. He must be important on his side of the world. I guess I can google him.

    June 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. TEXAN

    RIGHT ON !!!! Let's hope that enough Americans see that race is not an issue and Obama is elected. I respect and thank McCain for his service to our country in Vietnam...however, that is not enough to to take this country forward. Obama can and will if elected . YES HE CAN.....YES HE WILL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. aaron from minneapolis

    My dad has always been a republican and there's a good chance he's going to vote for Obama this year. He's from WI an I'm from MN.

    And for everyone in WI since it's a toss up state, who would Favre vote for? Come on CNN ask Favre.

    June 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. David, Lake Forest

    I am going with the candidate with the family values that mirrors mine. That candidate is Obama.

    McCain couldn't stay committed to his first wife, how can he be committed to this country?

    June 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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