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article imageObama was mistaken for a waiter at 2003 Tina Brown garden party

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jul 20, 2013 in Politics
Following Obama's recent "Trayvon Martin could have been me" comments, Wall Street Journal's Katie Rosman recalled a 2008 article in which she told a story about Obama being mistaken for a waiter at a Manhattan garden party in 2003.
Katie Rosman recalled in a recent tweet, the 2008 article in The Wall Street Journal, where she wrote about attending in the company of political columnist Eric Alterman, a party hosted by Tina Brown and Harold Evans at their Manhattan home in 2003 to mark the publication of Sidney Blumenthal's book "The Clinton Wars."
Leading figures in the US media were present, including editors of the New Yorker and the New York Times. Also present were Steven Brill and Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner. Clinton also showed up at the party.
Alterman left Rosman at the party to attend another event.
According to Rosman, standing by herself after Alterman had left, she noticed one of the few African-Americans attending the party standing alone on the "periphery" and looking "awkward and out-of-place." She approached him and spoke him. He introduced himself as an Illinois state senator running for the US Senate.
Alterman also referred to the incident in The Guardian on November 6, 2008: "I heard from yet another friend, Ed Epstein, who met Katie at the party, that she had spent much of the night talking to a guest who had been brought by Clinton's friend Vernon Jordan. He was a young, black state senator from Illinois with big ears. And in all the commotion surrounding Clinton, he was pretty much left alone. Katie is a nice person, and so she ambled over so he wouldn't feel so left out of things. That was March 2003, and the journey from there to here is almost unfathomable, but there it is."
Rosman continued her story: "We spoke at length about his campaign. He was charismatic in a quiet, solemn way. I told him I wanted to pitch a profile of him to a national magazine. (The magazine later rejected my proposal.)
"The following year I watched as he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, and then won his Senate seat that fall. On Tuesday (November, 2008), Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States."
Rosman then recounts an incident at the party that confirms Obama's comments about having been racially stereotyped and "followed when... shopping in a department store."
According to Rosman: "What I will always remember is as I was leaving that party... I was approached by another guest, an established author. He asked about the man I had been talking to. Sheepishly he told me he didn't know that Obama was a guest at the party, and had asked him to fetch him a drink. In less than six years, Obama has gone from being mistaken for a waiter among the New York media elite, to the president-elect.
"What a country."
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