Thompson on the Meaning of Obama

“As an African-American, and I said it to somebody I saw earlier today, I didn’t think I would live to see this moment in my lifetime,” City Comptroller Bill Thompson told me last night. “I hoped that my daughter would. I didn’t think I would.”

Thompson was referring to Barack Obama getting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. We were standing inside the Sheraton Denver, with a roomful of New York political people floating in and out of two receptions there last night.

“Around the nation, in our history, there have only been, what, three African-American governors, maybe four?” he asked. “David [Paterson]. Massachusetts right now [Deval Patrick], Doug Wilder in Virginia. And who else?”

He added, “In New York City, only two African Americans have ever been elected citywide. Dave Dinkins and me.”

Next year‘s he‘s expected to run for mayor.

Thompson noted that it was not too long ago–in the 1960s–that the Voting Rights Act was passed in Congress.

"Things have changed in a huge way,” he said.

Thompson on the Meaning of Obama