As Democratic presidential contender John Edwards fielded questions from a crowd of about 100 people in Elkader, Iowa (population 1,374) Friday night, he got one of those out-of-left-field queries for which a candidate needs his sharpest wits.
An elderly man told Edwards that “something has been sticking in my craw” and explained that “a certain fella committed two murders in California and the jury found him not guilty. And all they said was, ‘It’s payback time.’ How are you going to have that come out in this election to combat one of your competitors?”
Edwards seemed puzzled, as most people in the audience seemed to be.
“The black jury in Los Angeles, the reason they found O.J. not guilty was ‘payback,’” the older gent explained. “Payback for what?” Edwards asked.
For mistreatment by white America, the man said.
“What do you want the president to do about that?” Edwards asked.
“How are you going to get that brought out in your campaign? Will the same thing happen? If he should become elected, you think Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey are going to let him forget about that and their obligation?” the man said, not identifying who he meant by “he” and “him.”
“I’m still not sure what it is that you’re asking,” Edwards said, a bit uneasily.
I’ll let you decide that for yourselves…