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Can Obama Sell To Blacks And Whites?

Just in time for the early primaries and caucuses in January, Simon & Schuster is shopping a book for media outlets to serialize that declares Sen. Barack Obama won't win because he's caught between strategies to woo blacks and whites. A Bound Man: WhyWe Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win, by race and culture scholar Shelby Steele, helps to explain the candidate's bid to stay above politics.

While we aren't allowed to quote from the early excerpts, a Simon & Schuster letter explains that Obama "walks in an impossible political territory where any expression of what he truly feels puts him in jeopardy with one much-needed constituency or another." Steele argues that Obama is in a pickle. With whites, Obama bargains, telling them: "I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me."

To win blacks, the publisher's letter says, Obama must challenge whites on race and demand they back "black-friendly policies." Steele gives examples of who uses the dueling strategies: Oprah Winfrey and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

By Paul Bedard