From a news release e-mailed Tuesday:

Roland S. Martin joins Essence Magazine

Award-winning journalist joins Essence as special correspondent; launches new blog on

(August 7, 2007) New York, NY-Award-winning journalist and CNN contributor, Roland S. Martin, will launch his new blog on today with the notorious question, “Is Obama Black Enough?” Martin will post to the site, the online home of ESSENCE, the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women, twice daily and will cover a myriad of issues including politics, race, religion, relationships, parenting, and more.


To: Campaign Headquarters

Re: Our candidate’s current 8.4%

The Problem: We’re sucking exhaust fumes.

The Solution: It’s time to step on the gas.

The Opportunity: 90,700.

That’s the number I came up with when I googled “Obama” and “black enough.” As in “Is Obama black enough?” It’s a big number. It tells us people are asking, “Is Obama black enough?”

Our job: To define the answer.

From the looks of it, about 80 percent of the people asking “Is Obama black enough” are reporters with deadlines. For instance, Dennis Byrne has raised the topic, and so have John Kass and Leonard Pitts, and Clarence Page and Dawn Turner Trice, to name just a few celebrated columnists at the Chicago Tribune. Lynn Sweet’s been on it at the Sun-Times and just the other day Mary Mitchell upped the ante with a front-page story asking if Michelle Obama is black enough.

Now Roland Martin, former editor of the Chicago Defender, has joined the fray.

Remember, reporters are important agenda setters. If enough newspapers in enough towns hammer away at the same question, sooner or later some people will begin to think it could be important. That’s what we’re beginning to see with “Is Obama black enough?” Our push polls show that when voters are called at home on Sunday evening and asked these questions —

“When you vote for president do you look first for the candidate who is exactly black enough?”
“How important is it to you to elect a president who is exactly black enough even if his policies put the nation in imminent peril of conquest by jihadist hordes?”
“Do you think electing a white president sends the wrong kind of signal to the rest of the world no matter how wise and resolute that white president is?”

— it turns out there’s an undercurrent of surly discontent we can tap into.

But we’ve got to get out ahead of the curve on this one. The candidate needs to remind voters of what a long hard road America has traveled since he was a happy, barefoot boy in the 50s with a stay-at-home mom.

And then 1960! What a proud time to be an American! “Americans didn’t elect John F. Kennedy president because he was just a little bit Catholic,” the candidate will say. “Any more than Americans elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt because he was just a little bit crippled.

“An America that advances by half steps is not the America I know and love, nor is it the America the world fears and envies and respects. Do we want to send the world the message that the only kind of black man it is willing to elect president is someone many say is not black enough!

“I personally find that idea deeply offensive. And I find it astonishing that the junior senator from Illinois is willing to send such a message.

“I will not be party to it. Americans, show the world what we’re made of. Elect a black-enough black or none at all!”

And etc.

This message will resonate especially well among southern white voters who used to be Democrats but have migrated in recent years to the party of Lincoln. It will also find favor among northern black nationalists. These two blocs could form the basis of a grassroots coalition that will make this candidacy the talk of Sunday morning television.

“Some say the bell tolls for America. I say freedom rings.” (Good line. Work into speeches.)