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Butter chickening out

india Updated: Jun 21, 2007 03:32 IST

Barack Obama (D — not Tora Bora) had his boxers in a twist when his team sent out a memo criticising presidential candidate and Democrat rival Hillary Clinton’s financial ties with America’s Indian community. The memo, which described Ms Clinton as ‘(D-Punjab)’ — Democrat from Punjab — referred to Bill Clinton’s and her investments in India, her fund-raising activities among Indian-Americans and, for all one knows, a photograph of her with the Taj Mahal, not the Statue of Liberty, in the background. Understandably, the Indian-American community is upset with someone it thought would play fair and square.

Someone running for the race of presidential candidate has to be careful about what he or she says in public, especially in a melting-pot nation like America. Mr Obama has apologised, stating that “it was a dumb mistake”. But is it too late to win back the Indian-American vote? It isn’t as if Mr Obama has clinched his candidature from his party the way Prathiba Patil has, thereby giving the latter the luxury of talking through her pallu about matters relating to purdah and Muslims. If Mr Obama wants to undo the damage, perhaps he should try arranging some photo-ops, not with rich Sardarjis dying for photo-ops with Democrat leaders, but hang out with, say, Sunita Williams or conduct some diaspora conversation with Jhumpa Lahiri.

As for us sitting safely within the confines of Bharat, we would like to know what Mr Obama has to say about Sanjaya Malakar, star contestant in American Idol, who now seems to have been the victim of racial discrimination from a particular wing of the Democratic Party.