Sacramento County Republican leaders Tuesday took down offensive material on their official party Web site that sought to link Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden and encouraged people to "Waterboard Barack Obama" – material that offended even state GOP leaders.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has pushed the party to try to broaden its appeal, took issue with the site. "In the governor's view, it's completely and totally inappropriate," said Julie Soderlund, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman.
Hector Barajas, a California Republican Party spokesman, said Democrats have been playing the race card, but that the local party went too far in this instance.
Taking credit for the site (sacramentorepublicans.org) and its content was county party chairman Craig MacGlashan – husband of Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan.
The Bee asked MacGlashan about the content after seeking his reaction to hate-filled graffiti that was spray-painted over an Obama display on a fence at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Garfield Avenue.
In recent weeks, MacGlashan, an attorney, joined local Democratic party officials in condemning vandalism to political displays.
The vandalism to the Obama display appeared to have been done overnight Monday. A racial epithet, profanity, "KKK" and the words "white power" were clearly visible from the roadway. Six of the nine fence panels were defaced.
"What you are describing to me is not free speech, it's vandalism. We don't condone it," MacGlashan said.
But he defended his Web site. "I'm aware of the content," he said. "Some people find it offensive, others do not. I cannot comment on how people interpret things."
MacGlashan said he would "consider people's complaints" before taking any action.
By Tuesday night, much of the questionable material – which ranged from depicting Obama in a turban to attacking Michelle Obama – had been removed, replaced with political cartoons attacking Obama.
UPDATE, 11/2: I tried to fix the wonky formatting of the second batch of block quotes and ended up screwing up the layout further. Sorry!
The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.
The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" -- a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."
The group's president, Diane Fedele,
said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the
club's meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama
made over the summer about how as an African-American he "doesn't look like all
those other presidents on the dollar bills."
"It was strictly an attempt
to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don't want to go into
it any further," Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I absolutely
apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt." Fedele
said she got the illustration in a number of chain e-mails and decided to
reprint it for her members in the Trumpeter newsletter because she was offended
that Obama would draw attention to his own race. She declined to say who sent
her the e-mails with the illustration. She said she doesn't think in racist
terms, pointing out she once supported Republican Alan Keyes, an
African-American who previously ran for president.I didn't see it the way that
it's being taken. I never connected," she said. "It was just food to me. It
didn't mean anything else."
She said she also wasn't trying to make a
statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her introductory text to the
illustration connects the two: "Obama talks about all those presidents that got
their names on bills. If elected, what bill would he be on????? Food Stamps,
Way to further along civilized discourse about race
relations in America, you fucking morons.
Links courtesy of Political Animal.