Is Barack Obama American Enough?

Race will matter on Election Day. But it's not about black and white

Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME

Obama with supporters, and a bodyguard, in Waterford, Mich.

"I am just so fearful that this is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America." So said Sarah Palin about Barack Obama on Oct. 6 as she attacked him for his decision to "pal around" with onetime Weatherman bomber Bill Ayers. With Obama back in the lead, the new, harsher Republican line surprised almost nobody. The Obama campaign declared it a distraction before it even arrived.

But seen in historical perspective, the McCain campaign's strategy against Obama is actually kind of shocking. For years, the recipe for injecting race into a political campaign has...

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