Hillary Clinton? Bob Lonsberry? Are you taking notes:
Sen. Barack Obama today called the two Muslim women who were barred from sitting behind him at his Detroit rally to apologize, one of the women and two other sources said.
“Sen. Obama called himself and he apologized to each of us,” one of the women, lawyer Hebba Aref, told me just now.
Senator Obama’s campaign screwed up – it was a couple volunteers at a local event, but it was still technically his campaign – and they refused to let a few Muslim women in hajib, or traditional headscarfs, sit behind Obama at a rally. Most likely, the volunteers objected for fear of eliciting more “Obama is a Muslim” rhetoric from the fringe Right. Whatever is the case, it’s still wrong. And Senator Obama called each of the women to apologize because he knew it was wrong.
He could easily have dodged the problem by “firing” the volunteers. He could easily have made excuses for why it didn’t happen the way the reports said it happened. He could have blamed the volunteers and said, “that’s what happens when you use volunteers.” He chose to do none of these things. He assumed responsibility, took three whacks, and got it over with like a decent human being.
I’m not saying it’s easy, but its the right thing to do. Especially for a leader.