Famous for his mastery of political jujitsu, Senator Barack Obama uncharacteristically finds himself the victim of his own sophomoric use of the issue of race as a political attack. Capping off a tumultuous week that followed in the wake of Senator Obamas greatly heralded Middle Eastern and European gravitas tour; a recent Rassmussen Reports poll indicates that a majority of American voters believe it is he, and not Republican challenger Senator John McCain, that has played the race card in their increasingly contentious contest. In a poll released yesterday, Rassmussen found that of the 69% of voters that saw Senator McCains recent ad comparing Senator Obama to infamously vacuous celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton; just 22% say the ad was racist while 63% say it was not. Contrastingly, in what is clearly a bad omen for the Obama campaign, 53% of respondents believe his remarks warning voters that Republicans and Senator McCain would attempt to scare them with the fact he does not look like all the other presidents on dollar bills were racist. This after four days of the Obama campaign seeking to defuse the controversy with Senator Obama softening his original statement by explaining he was not the typical candidate one would expect from central casting. Though 38% of all respondents and unaffiliated voters disagreed with the characterization of Senator Obamas statement as being racist, unaffiliated voters overwhelming believe Senator McCains ad was not racist by a five-to-one margin. Of this potentially critical group of swing voters, 50% believe Senator Obamas statement was racist. What this highlights is the danger of playing the race card in American politics, regardless of who is playing it. Though some have assailed Senator McCains ad as subliminally playing on racist fears of a black male preying on white females, it is Senator Obama that has been labeled a race baiter in the course of events. Riding on an emotional high after his rock star-like reception in Middle Eastern and European capitals, the incident left the Obama campaign shaken and bruised. At best, the remarks were ham-handed preemptive warning to Republicans to not venture into the turbulent and unpredictable waters racially-focused politics. At worst, it was a cynical attempt to brand Senator McCain and Republicans with the scarlet R of racism. In the end, it was Senator Obama that was battered against the political rocks after being caught in the issues unforgiving undertow. Regardless of the intent, the outcome has resulted in blowback for Senator Obama and an advantage for Senator McCain. Referring to the incident in the future, the McCain camp is sure to encourage the media and the public to regard similar assertions by Senator Obama with the same skepticism applied to the boy that cried wolf. This being the case, the burden is on the Obama campaign to reestablish its credibility in the wake of what voters have characterized as a cynical and unjustified use of the racist label. When using hand grenades, faithful readers, one should always make sure they are thrown well down range; lest one get caught in ones own shrapnel. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the walking wounded continue to trickle in.