While the President's Mandela eulogy seemed heartfelt, personal, and free of the swipes at his domestic opponents that many of his speeches contain. Despite the nonpartisan tone of the President's speech, CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux, who was hosting a segment wrapping up the service, insisted on interjecting domestic politics into the discussion.
Malveaux was interviewing the host of The Lead, Jake Tapper, and began the segment by asking how “African-American who feel like they want more from this president” will receive the eulogy. Tapper replied:
The President has always had a tough line to walk here when it comes to that. He’s been mindful of the fact that that he’s not president of African-Americans. He’s President of the United States, and that, to many African-American leaders, has often been disappointing.
The anchor pivoted and showed a part of the Obama speech where he attacked “leaders” who he said claim to support Mandela’s goals but “do not tolerate dissent from their own people.” Tapper explained that Obama was reprimanding "leaders who do not believe in the same kind of freedoms that Mandela stood for, even while they attend his funeral, and give a lot of words to what Mandela ultimately spent his whole life for, which is freedom of democracy."
Perhaps not getting the answer she wanted, Malveaux followed up with a question that indicated she might have been listening to a different speech.
Do you think there was a message in the domestic audience, as well?, Do you think he was speaking to some of his critics in the United States who prevented him from moving forward in his own agenda?
Setting her straight, Tapper answered,
I don't. I think he was mainly focused on Castro, Mugabe, Assad, individuals in the international world who are suppressing their people and not providing them with the freedoms. They extol at the same moment that they're attending the Mandela memorial.