But anything you say about Obama is a gaffe; see how much trouble Joe Biden is in for saying Obama is "clean. " Specifically for saying Obama is "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are protesting that they're mainstream and articulate and bright and clean, none of which is true.
Also, people seem to that "clean" here means physically:
Mr. Sharpton said that when Mr. Biden called him to apologize, Mr. Sharpton started off the conversation reassuring Mr. Biden about his hygienic practices. "I told him I take a bath every day," Mr. Sharpton said. [Biden Unwraps His Bid for '08 With an Oops! , By Adam Nagourney , NYT, January 31, 2007]But Sharpton and Jackson could hardly claim to be clean in the political sense. "Clean" in a politician means "not a crook." Both Sharpton and Jackson are corrupt, and as dirty as any politician this side of Marion Barry.
Obama is also clean in the sense that he hasn't done cocaine for years and years. (This would be a gaffe if a politician said it.) In fact, "Gaffe" might as well be Obama's middle name. His actual middle name is Hussein. Gaffe! See what I mean?
Kathy Shaidle points to this Russell Wardlow post, which says it all
This, more than anything else, is why the idea of an Obama presidency makes me nauseated. Every time he gets criticized (and sometimes when he's complimented) will be another occasion to agonize over the possibility of latent racism in the remark. Thus the well of public discourse will be even more poisoned than before.