Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

US media reacts to ebola scare

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

I will support Hillary Clinton, will.i.am tells France 24

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Spread of radical Islam propaganda sparks concerns

Read more

ENCORE!

Corrie Nielsen: Up and Coming Talent at Paris Fashion Week

Read more

FACE-OFF

French Senate election: A new blow for Hollande

Read more

ENCORE!

Encore's Film Show: Julie Gayet, Denzel Washington, and cartoon madness

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Turkey's strategy towards the Islamic State group

Read more

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

FOCUS

FOCUS

Latest update : 2009-11-05

In rural America, many still struggle to accept Obama

Twelve months after Barack Obama's historic election, many right-wing voters still haven't digested his victory. Our correspondent travelled to West Virginia, a rural state where anti-Obama sentiments run high.

Today's Focus guest are Zachary Miller, vice-president of Democrats Abroad France, and Paul Vallet, a professor at Sciences-Po Paris.

 

The anti-Obama movement has its roots in rural America, in places far away from the urban centre; like West Virginia, a mountainous state in the Appalachian region.

Ron Lott is a former Marine who displays his guns with pride. He owns a small revolver and a cheap rifle, made in China. Ron is a Vietnam veteran. His buddies were also in the military. Together they spend hours talking about the state of the country. In their world, Barack Obama should never have become president. They believe he was not even born in the US.

“He is a Kenyan-born nationalist. And I believe that any man that wants to hold the highest office in this country but can’t produce a birth certificate is a fake!”, claims Ron.

There are other reasons why Ron and his friends have still not accepted the election of Obama. They think for example that he is a Muslim… and what’s worse, in their eyes, he could be a “socialist”.

“If you look at the whole healthcare plan and things that he’s done: it’s all socialism, since he’s been in. So there we go, you know.”, he says.
A tough welcoming committee greets a few democratic activists in Parkersburg, West Virginia. They’ve been bussed in to explain and defend the president’s reforms. But their job here is hard: last November Obama lost badly to John McCain in this region.

Ron and his friends are here of course, to make their voices heard. But the democrats dismiss this type of disturbance as coming from a radical minority.

“55 % of the people in this country are in favor of reform. They’re in favor of reform now. They’re out of step with the rest of the country”, explains Helen Harms, an Obama supporter.

Tom Stark disagrees. He is convinced that the political tide is about to turn against Obama. So convinced in fact that he has decided to launch his own political career. He is running for Congress in 2010 as an ultra-conservative. Conservatives have been accused of racism when criticizing Obama. That’s why this newcomer to politics avoids personal attacks.

“This is not about his religion, it’s not about his race, it’s not about any of those things. It’s about what he is trying to do in the way of forcing more and more government decision-making into our lives”, explains Tom Stark.

One year after his election, Barack Obama remains relatively popular at the national level. But for Tom Stark there is no doubt that what is now a disgruntled minority will soon turn into a conservative uprising.

 

By Guillaume MEYER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2014-10-01 Germany

Germany: Spread of radical Islam propaganda sparks concerns

Our correspondents in Germany have been investigating a surge in ultra-conservative Islam, which ranges from so-called "sharia patrols" who pressure Muslim women to wear veils,...

Read more

2014-09-30 Iraq

The Iraqi TV show where victims confront terrorists

It’s 1am in Baghdad, a city under curfew, and the streets of Karrada, a central district in the Iraqi capital, are swarming with nervous security personnel.

Read more

2014-09-29 Egypt

Egypt's push against atheism and 'non-believers'

In Egypt a growing number of young people are identifying as atheists. On paper, Egypt protects freedom of religious beliefs, but this does not extend to those who reject...

Read more

2014-09-26 France

Americans in Paris!

Last report in our series celebrating Paris's rich cultural diversity: natives of both the North and South of the American Continent now call Paris home. They've brought with...

Read more

2014-09-25 Arab world

The diversity of Arab cultures shines in Paris

France has a long history of ties to North Africa. That history has at times been painful and complex. But as you'll see in our report, it has also left a clear, positive...

Read more