After President Obama released a video message highlighting 2010 efforts to turn out the vote among minorities, right-wing media responded with inflammatory rhetoric, including claims that Obama is playing the "race card." Those media figures have ignored that Republicans have issued similar appeals to minority voters.
Obama's 2010 election strategy includes getting young people, women, minorities out to vote
Obama: "[M]ake sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women" vote. From President Obama's April 23 videotaped appeal to his supporters outlining Democratic Party strategy for the 2010 elections:
In 2010, it will be up to each of you to ask folks like Claudia to stay involved, and to explain why this year the stakes are higher than ever. It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again.
Conservative media's inflamed reaction: Strategy "disses white guys," shows Obama "regime at its racist best"
Drudge: "Obama plays race card." The Drudge Report linked to an article about the video with the headline, "Obama plays race card: Rallies blacks, Latinos for '10 upset." Drudge's headline was echoed by conservative blogs such as Gateway Pundit and The Daily Caller.
Ingraham: Obama "goes to the race card." On the April 26 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, guest host Laura Ingraham asked of the video, "What's with the racially charged rallying cry?" adding that it shows Obama "doesn't have any other cards to throw down so he goes to the race card." Guest Mary Katharine Ham similarly claimed that Obama is making a "race-based pitch to his voters."
Limbaugh: "The regime at its racist best." Rush Limbaugh said of the video on his April 26 radio show: "This is the regime at its racist best. What's the regime doing? Asking blacks and Latinos to join him in a fight. What is a campaign if not a fight? He's asking young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and women to reconnect. To fight who? Who's this fight against? ... We've never had a president like this, who has purposely come to divide people. But he has, and he is. With that video, seeking to reconnect young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and other women for 2010. Against who?"
FoxNews.com: Obama "left white, middle-age male voters in his rear-view mirror." In an April 26 article, FoxNews.com stated that "President Obama left white, middle-age male voters in his rear-view mirror Monday in launching his first midterm election pitch, calling on "young people, African Americans, Latinos and women" to deliver for Democrats in November."
Wash. Times' Pruden: "Obama wants to join the sordid ranks of the race hustlers." Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden wrote in his April 27 column that "Race-baiting never goes out of style," adding: "Barack Obama wants to join the sordid ranks of the race hustlers, like the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, if not necessarily the race baiters. Maybe there's only a small distinction between hustling and baiting, but once the toxic stuff is let loose, it doesn't matter what you call it."
Wash. Examiner: "Obama disses white guys." The front page of the April 27 edition of the Washington Examiner carried the headline "Obama disses white guys: Rallies blacks, Latinos, women."
Fox's Gutfield: "Not since third grade basketball have I ever felt so left out." Fox News host Greg Gutfield wrote in an April 27 Big Hollywood post:
He knows he has the black vote, for political and sentimental reasons. Young people are green enough dismiss the debate between big and small government, so Obama can get 'em too. Women - primarily those shielded from conservativism through an intense combo of psychotherapy, grad school deployment, self help books and dating wusses -could end up in O's pocket too.
That leaves Latinos -- who the President believes he'll win, once he drops the "A" bomb. I.e. Amnesty.
And who's left? White dopes like me.
See, in the post-racial world, it's Obama who sees race. He looks at me, and sees someone he can't win over.
But still, I feel Obama looks at me, and just sees an AWG, or "angry white guy." Which is why I'm not on his list.
Not since third grade basketball have I ever felt so left out.
Actually, this is worse. Back then, I was picked last. Now I'm not even on the team.
Carlson compares video to "Nixon's Southern Strategy." On the April 27 edition of Fox News' Special Report, contributor Tucker Carlson said: "So how is this different substantially from Nixon's Southern Strategy? What he's doing is, saying, 'You have reason to fear on racial grounds, therefore vote for me.' I think he is using racial anxiety for political gain."
Contrary to conservative media outrage, Republicans have also appealed to minorities
Steele, Gingrich have called for GOP outreach to minority voters. As Media Matters for America has detailed, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele told The Washington Times in February 2009 that he planned to specifically target Hispanic and black voters as part of a new "urban-suburban hip hop" outreach program, saying, "We need messengers to really capture that region - young, Hispanic, black, a cross section ... We want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-surburban hip-hop settings." Similarly, at the June 2009 Senate House GOP Fundraising Dinner, Gingrich urged Republicans to "reach out to African Americans, to Koreans, to Vietnamese, to Chinese, to Indians, to Latinos."
Sargent: RNC adopts "Rush Limbaugh/Matt Drudge line" over Steele's minority outreach. In an April 28 blog post, The Plum Line's Greg Sargent noted that the Republican Party's description of Obama's remark as "an appeal based on class warfare and race" comes in the wake of Steele's April 19 statement that Republicans "haven't done a very good job" of giving African-Americans a reason to vote for them and "have lost sight of the historic, integral link between the party and African-Americans." Sargent added: "Now the RNC is attacking Obama for minority outreach. In so doing, the RNC is essentially adopting the Rush Limbaugh/Matt Drudge line over Steele's previous call for more racial sensitivity."
Republican strategist, Fox host also counter line of attack
Republican Blakeman: Obama "not being divisive at all." On the April 26 edition of Fox News' America Live, former Bush administration official Brad Blakeman responded to host Megyn Kelly's asking if Obama was "playing the race card" by saying, "I say Republicans should do exactly the same thing. The president was not being divisive at all; he was stating the obvious. ... So I don't think the president was being racist at all."
Fox's Smith: Conservatives "getting all weird" about Obama "appealing to his base." On the April 27 edition of Fox News' Studio B, host Shepard Smith pointed out that Obama is "appealing to his base, like politicians always do," adding, "It's hilarious to me that people are all kind of weirded out by the fact that a politician is appealing to his base in an election. I mean, what's wrong with them?" Smith also said, "The right's getting all weird about this, though, isn't it?"