Obama: Rappers Using Same Language As Embattled Radio Host Imus

Friday, April 13th 2007, 2:39 pm
By: News On 6

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) _ Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday questioned the way some rappers talk about women in songs, saying the lyrics are similar to the derogatory language used by embattled radio host Don Imus.

They are ``degrading their sisters. That doesn't inspire me,'' Obama said of some hip-hop artists when a man in a crowd of about 1,000 questioned him. The Illinois senator was responding to a question of what inspired him, and said God and civil rights activists.

Earlier this week, Obama criticized Imus, who was fired Thursday for labeling the Rutgers women's basketball team ``nappy-headed hos.''

``I do think we've seen a coarsening of the culture,'' Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press after the town hall meeting. As a constitutional lawyer, Obama said he was a free speech advocate.

``But just because you can say something doesn't mean you should say something,'' he said. ``And I think that we have not talked enough about the harmful images and messages that are sent.''

He said as a parent it was a constant struggle to reinforce his two daughters' sense of self-esteem.

``I think that all of us have become a little complicit in this kind of relaxed attitude toward some pretty offensive things,'' Obama said. ``And I hope this prompts some self-reflection on the part of all of us.''

Obama started the day in Charlotte, N.C., at a $1,000 per plate fundraising breakfast in what was his first visit to that state's biggest city.

In Iowa, Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said Imus' departure could result in exits for other talk show hosts, such as Rosie O'Donnell and Bill Maher.

The former Arkansas governor and frequent Imus guest said Imus' comments were inexcusable and wrong, but other celebrities have also made offensive comments.

``Well, that was a decision the networks had to make,'' Huckabee told Radio Iowa. ``I think if Imus is going to get fired, then there's a lot of other people that need to go out the door. Rosie's probably got to go. Bill Maher has to go. Gosh, half of talk radio and television has to go.''

Huckabee has appeared on HBO's ``Real Time With Bill Maher'' to promote his candidacy.