Local Politics

NAACP: GOP Ad Inserts 'Racist Sentiments' Into Election

Posted April 25, 2008

— The North Carolina branch of the NAACP said Friday a state Republican Party advertisement that includes a clip of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's former pastor is racially divisive.

The state GOP produced the ad to criticize Democratic gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore for endorsing Obama. The ad calls the presidential candidate "too extreme for North Carolina" and shows a clip of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's former pastor in Chicago, making critical comments about the U.S.

Obama has denounced the remarks, calling them divisive, and the NAACP said the ad takes Wright's words out of context in an effort to smear the black community.

"It's a fundamentally race-baiting ad," said Rev. William Barber, state NAACP President. "It's a not so subtle attempt to smear not only black culture (and) the black church, but (also) prophetic ministers and to insert racist sentiments into the electoral process."

Republican presidential candidate John McCain and other prominent members of the national party have demanded that the state GOP pull the ad, which McCain called "offensive." But the state party plans to begin airing the ad Monday.

Barber compared the ad to a media campaign in 1898, when several state newspapers distributed racist political cartoons and published stories focusing on black community crimes.

The campaign preceded race riots in Wilmington that resulted in white supremacists overthrowing the local black government in the nation's only recorded coup d'etat. The conflict left dozens of blacks dead and ushered in a new political era in the Jim Crow South.

Barber said the upcoming primary should focus on issues like education, health care and the economy.

"This is 2008, not 1898," he said. "Race-baiting has long been the last resort of politicians who have racially divided North Carolinians to get elected."

Barber also likened the ad to former North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms' infamous 1990 spot that showed a white man crumpling a rejection letter while a narrator said the job had been given to a minority because of racial quotas. Helms won that election over former Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, who is black.

State GOP Chairwoman Linda Daves said the ad is completely factual and accused Democrats of trying to inject the race issue into the discussion.

"This tactic, designed to further drive a wedge between the people of North Carolina, is despicable and wrong," Daves said in a statement. "This ad has absolutely nothing to do with race."

Party Executive Director Chris McClure echoed Daves.

"This ad is not about race. We have said that from Day 1. The Democrats are making it about race to avoid the important questions that are being asked," McClure said.

North Carolina GOP spokesman Brent Woodcox said donors have responded by sending money to the party to help air the spot.

"(Donations) have been pouring in so quickly we can't keep up with them," Woodcox said. He said the total was still being tallied.

Bob Orr, the only Republican candidate for governor to publicly oppose the ad, said the message hurts the party, and he asked officials to withdraw it.

"I do think the Democrats want to try and tar the party with the racism message, so I think they're overreacting in that respect," Orr said. "But it's just the wrong ad, the wrong message, the wrong time."


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  • unaffiliated Apr 29, 2008

    Racist sentiments were evident in this ad...........inserted or uncovered, courtesy of Rev. Wright's comments.

  • justwondering2 Apr 25, 2008

    I guess the Rev has been jealous that he hasn't gotten any attention lately. So he decided to stir the pot.

  • Clover Apr 25, 2008

    Ironic, indeed. The NAACP makes its existence off race-bating. And Reverend Wright made a career of it. Now he's sitting back waiting for the completion of his million dollar mansion on a golf course in lily white Tinley Park. Pretty sweet retirement package from the congregation of Trinity United wouldn’t you agree?


  • bronzegoddess40 Apr 25, 2008

    This is very much similar to the ads that ran when Harvey Gantt was running against Jesse Helms. And how many of you have been influenced by your pastor in all aspects of your lives? I am sure that you don't agree with everything that they may say. It is funny how free speech is not really for everyone is it?

  • ghimmy47 Apr 25, 2008

    The NAACP NEVER takes a racist stance on anything. Do they? Huh?

  • whatelseisnew Apr 25, 2008

    William Barbour would not recognize the so-called Reverend Wright as a racist due to his own racism; just the fact he is a part of a racist organization says enough about him.

  • dogeatdog Apr 25, 2008

    Well, there is no doubt that William Barbour would be against this...he cries "racism" anytime something doesnt go his way. This is how the election will be though..if you are white and you say something against Obama you will be labeled a "racist," no matter if what you said has anything to do with race or not. Do not let this intimidate you. Obama is an ultra-liberal who will tax this nation into ruin. He sat in the pews 20 years listening to the rantings of his minister Wright. He constorts with known terrorists who set off a bomb at the Pentagon. Obama is wrong for America. And sorry Mr. Barbour, but it is not because he is black, it is because he is an elitist liberal!

  • mrkagain Apr 25, 2008

    "I am glad that when I realized the inherent racism in the Democratic Party, I shook that dust from my sandals and walked away from it. "

    .... well, ah coulda tol ya dat thutty yars ah go..... but you wouldn't uh believed me... ah'm jes an ole middle aged WASP with some sense, so mah 'pinion don' count......

  • mrkagain Apr 25, 2008

    .... stuff and nonsense.

  • Time for the Truth Apr 25, 2008

    Here we go-if you go against "OBAMA" you're a racist-white man's fault! Black cop in NYC shoots black man 31 times-it's a white man's NYPD.Wright condemns America-white man's fault-GET THE MESSAGE!! Now the truth the BLACKS ARE THE BLACK MAN'S FAULT-not the gov't -law enforcement -not the schools (FREE EDUCATION since the 60's!! If things don't change the blacks leadership will be the downfall of America-not the average black man. Everywhere I go eat--- blacks and whites are getting along saying excuse me/go ahead of me in line-thanks you for holding the doors etc -both ways!! THE PROBLEM IS THE BLACK LEADERSHIP!!!!!!! Get Gov't out of the way and blacks and whites will be find!! We are not living 50 or 100 years ago.