Would President Obama be at extra-high risk for assassination?

I’ve heard that he’s already received many death threats; don’t know if that’s true.

As I understand it, receiving death threats is part of the job description. Indeed, you might even view it as confirmation that your candidate is a strong contender. I doubt that anyone has threatened to kill Mike Gravel or Duncan Hunter.

Compared to who? Hilary - probably not - Hil is waaay more disliked than BO. Compared with Guiliani, Huck or Romney? More at risk than the Huckster or Romney, less than Rudy. I get the feeling that being mayor of NY makes you more enemies than being governor of Mass or a state in the Deep South.

I get the feeling at this point that Obama would wind up more like Carter - too ineffectual to achieve anything to make people want to shoot at him. AFAIK nobody ever tried to shoot Mr. Peanut; Ford had people trying to kill him twice in a week or so.

Of course, all this is based on rational assumptions. People don’t try to assassinate a President based on rational principles.

I doubt if he is more at risk just because he’s black (more or less). Are Black politicians more likely to be assassinated than white ones?


Not AFAIK, but none has ever before been a serious contender for the presidency.

Joke from the '80s – Jesse Jackson arrives at the Pearly Gates.

ST. PETER: And what did you accomplish during your time on Earth?

JESSE JACKSON: I was the first African-American ever elected president of the United States!

SP: Really?! Wow! When did that happen?

JJ: About ten minutes ago.

This is tending to the No True Scotsman argument - Black politicians aren’t at higher risk, but Black Presidents are.

I know you aren’t making that argument, but ISTM that if we as a nation are enlightened enough to elect a person regardless of color, we would be enlightened enough to shoot him for reasons other than race.

No doubt the old line will get recycled, that Hilary will pick Obama as her running mate so as to reduce the chance of assassination.


It takes a majority to elect, only one person to shoot. And I think there are many white racists who would have a much bigger problem with the idea of a black POTUS than a black governor or senator.

It’s, like, Hank Aaron was a black ballplayer for a long time, and he didn’t start getting large volumes of hate mail until he threatened to break a legendary white player’s HR record.


On the other hand, Jackie Robinson got hate mail up the wazoo right from the get-go. And I doubt if anyone gives a shit about what color the latest steroid-abuser is nowadays.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. The reason Aaron didn’t get any hate mail when he started off in MLB is because Robinson got so much when he did. We’ve had enough black “firsts” that Obama is more like Aaron than Robinson. ISTM.


Obama already is considered to be higher risk for assassination than his peers in the race. He asked for Secret Service coverage much earlier than usual, and they are present in larger numbers than for some other candidates. This actually hurts him politically, as it presents a barrier between him and the people that, say, John Edwards simply doesn’t have.

The simple fact of the matter is that there are violent anti-Black groups in this country, and it’s nonsense to suggest that they wouldn’t try something. Hillary Clinton may be despised, but their aren’t groups with more than 100 years history of terrorizing and murdering liberal women to target her.

I think Obama is certainly at a larger risk of assassination, but I think the chances of it happening are very small these days.

The Secret Service is so ridiculously careful these days that I think it’s much more difficult to kill a president than in say Kennedy’s or Reagan’s term. A situation like that which happened with Kennedy simply wouldn’t present itself these days. I’d imagine that the secret service keeps the president within a safe zone at all times. Everytime he goes outdoors, they go ahead and make sure there’s nobody trying to snipe him. This is unnecessary in a lot of places (White House lawn, Camp David, wooded areas). It simply wouldn’t happen these days.

As you have pointed out, Gerald Ford has a number of assassination attempts and hardly anyone gave a crap about him. It makes no difference what you used to do.

Assassination attempts on Presidents have not been a function of popularity or political hatred; all the assassins have been nuts, crazies, and angry fools. Obama, if elected, will have to fear the lone gunman with crazy on his mind, and that could happen to anyone who’s President.

John Wilkes Booth may have been a crazy angry fool, but he was definitely acting from definitely political motives.

So, for that matter, was Leon Czolgosz.

Or Francisco Duran.

The Illuminati would never let that happen. :wink:

I was an intern in a congressional office once. And while that congressman later became a figure of some considerable controversy (Rick Santorum) as a congressman he was just a run-of-the-mill conservative junior member.

This didn’t stop lots of interesting mail from coming to both the Washington and district offices, some of which contained death threats.

I’ll bet Obama has had death threats, but I’m also willing to bet he started getting them when he was elected to the state senate in Illinois. This is a sad part of life for elected officials at all levels.

Some people are ready for it, and some people are not, it really depends on a person’s beliefs.

According to Chris Rock, Obama as VP wouldn’t do too well either. :smiley:

Not if Edwards is his veep.