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Race proving more toxic in this election than in 2008

Inside the Big Tent on Wednesday, the theme was tolerance — for heat, for long drives, for no sales, for each other.

so much for a post-racial political debate

There are black Republicans. Just not many. But Jacksonville's Chelsi Henry, 24, feels embraced by the party, she told the Times' Tia Mitchell on Tuesday in Tampa.

"I happen to be an African-American, but that's not all of who I am," she said.

Still, say POLITICO's John F. Harris and Maggie Haberman, both Obama and Romney are keenly conscious of how the nation's partisan and ideological divides track closely with racial ones. Their strategies reflect this understanding.

Race is proving more toxic as a subtext to the election than it did in 2008. And the subtext isn't always subtle. Have you watched the 2016 trailer? Writes the Washington Post's Ezra Klein: This is where things get tricky. Romney's welfare ads are not racist. But the evidence suggests that they work particularly well if the viewer is racist, or at least racially resentful. These ads are working so unexpectedly well that welfare is now the spine of Romney's 2012 on-air message in battleground states.

Meanwhile, Tuesday afternoon at the Times Forum, two convention attendees were thrown out after throwing nuts at a black CNN camerawoman, saying, "This is how we feed the animals." In a statement, the convention called their behavior "deplorable," "inexcusable" and "unacceptable."

Kickin' quote, Part 1

"It's just kind of like menopause," said Christine Hill, a 61-year-old GOP delegate from Anchorage, Alaska, comparing Florida's weather to the hot flashes that mark the end of a woman's child-bearing years. "You just go with it."

Harder to get around than Orlando? Ouch

The Tampa Bay Times' Mike Van Sickler went into the RNC thinking he was on the Florida delegation beat. He's actually on the transportation beat. First, the buses — once they showed up on Tuesday — delivered the delegates late to the Times Forum. Getting back to the hotel that night was no easier. Here, from his dispatch on the latest in a series of bus-related inconveniences, is the key quote: "We don't know why they chose this area," said Karen Dove, a 55-year-old from Brevard County who didn't get back to Innisbrook until after 3 a.m. Wednesday. "Orlando is easier to get around."

Kickin' quote, Part 2

"People are very cynical about the conventions," Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough said. "But some of the people who are whining about them being on for four days are people who watch the Kardashians a hundred nights a year."

It's an ill windfall that makes no money

The optimistic and the otherwise obligated said this was going to be an economic windfall and bring to Tampa and the bay area transformative exposure. The pessimistic or just a little more realistic said, "Come on." So here it is Wednesday of RNC week. The reactions of downtown merchants range from underwhelmed to livid. The travel woes of Florida's delegates have highlighted the area's lack of public transportation. Tropical weather canceled a day and now it's just hot. At least there hasn't been a dreaded pepper spray moment. So much is going on and nothing is happening.

Race proving more toxic in this election than in 2008 08/29/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:18pm]
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