On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity again claimed that "[n]obody in the Republican Party" is bringing up race in the context of the presidential campaign. In fact, several Republican officials and supporters have brought up the issue of Obama's race, made racial innuendos, or used his middle name.
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On the October 9 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity said of Gov. Sarah Palin: "[T]here are some extreme, left-wing Democratic lawmakers accusing her of resorting to race tactics on the campaign trail. Why? Palin recently referred to Barack Obama as, quote, 'not one of us,' prompting New York Congressman Greg Meeks to say the following, quote: 'They know they can't win on issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.' " Hannity went on to assert: "If it wasn't so ridiculously idiotic and absurd, it'd be funny. But -- you know, but this -- this sounds a lot like Barack Obama: 'They're going to tell you I have a funny name, and I don't look like those guys on the currency. And they're going to say, "Oh, he's black?" ' " Hannity added: "Nobody in the Republican Party is bringing this up except him and his supporters."
However, contrary to Hannity's claim that Meeks' comments are "ridiculously idiotic and absurd" and his claim that "[n]obody in the Republican Party" has brought up Obama's race or his middle name, several Republican officials and supporters have brought up the issue of his race, made racial innuendos, or used his middle name, as Media Matters for America and several media outlets have documented:
- On October 5, Los Angeles Times staff writer Peter Wallsten reported that Bobby May, treasurer of Virginia's Buchanan County Republican Party, wrote a column for the Virginia newspaper The Voice in which he lampooned the platform of "Barack Hussein Obama." May wrote that Obama would "[h]ire rapper Ludacris to 'paint [the White House] black' " if he won the presidency. May had previously been a member of the McCain campaign's Virginia leadership team, though according to an October 7 report by NBC affiliate WRC-TV, May has since been "removed from the campaign."
- Hill reporter Mike Soraghan reported that Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) called Barack and Michelle Obama "uppity" while answering questions with reporters on September 4. Soraghan wrote: " 'Just from what little I've seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity,' Westmoreland said. Asked to clarify that he used the word 'uppity,' Westmoreland said, 'Uppity, yeah.' "
- On April 14, The New York Times' Kate Phillips reported on the blog The Caucus blog that Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) referred to Obama as "boy" during April 12 remarks at a Lincoln Day Dinner in Kentucky's 4th Congressional District. Phillips reported: " 'I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button,' Mr. Davis said. 'He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country.' " Davis offered a written apology to Obama in which he wrote: "My poor choice of words is regrettable and was in no way meant to impugn you or your integrity. I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness."
- Media Matters documented comments made by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to a Spencer, Iowa, radio station and published in a March 8 article in Spencer's Daily Reporter: "I will tell you that, if [Obama] is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror." The article continued:
King thinks radical Islamists will say the United States has capitulated because the Obama administration would be pulling troops out of any conflict associated with al-Qaida.
"Additionally, his middle name (Hussein) does matter," King said. "It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. That has a special meaning to them. They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They will be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: Pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict."
- As Media Matters documented, a February 25 press release by the Tennessee Republican Party, titled "Anti-Semites for Obama," stated that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan "likened Obama to a new messiah" and "compared Obama to the founder of Islam, remarking that both had a white mother and black father, according to the Associated Press." The release originally included an image of Obama dressed in Somali clothing during a 2006 visit to northeast Kenya and described the photo as Obama "dressed in Muslim clothing during a 2006 trip to Africa." In fact, Yusuf Garaad Omar, head of the BBC's Somali Service, said of the clothing: "There is no religious significance to it whatsoever. It is mainly the nomadic people who use it. Some of them are religious, some are not." As Media Matters documented, while The Washington Post reported that Sen. John McCain condemned the press release, he later touted the endorsement of the Tennessee GOP chairman, who was quoted attacking Obama in the press release.
- In an October 6 post on CBSNews.com's From The Road blog, Scott Conroy reported that Mike Scott, sheriff of Lee County, Florida, said, "On Nov. 4, let's leave Barack Hussein Obama wondering what happened." Conroy wrote that Scott "used Barack Obama's middle name in order to incite the crowd of thousands of people." In an update to the post, Conroy reported that after the rally, Palin campaign spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt issued a reprimand, calling Scott's remark "inappropriate rhetoric."
- Washington Post staff writer Michael D. Shear reported that during the October 9 edition of Dennis Miller's talk radio program, The Dennis Miller Show, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R), a co-chairman of McCain's campaign, "raised the issue of Obama's drug use." Keating said that Obama "ought to admit" that he "was a guy on the street."
- Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein noted that while speaking at an October 8 McCain campaign rally in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Bill Platt, the Republican Party chair of Lehigh County, "twice referred to 'Barack Hussein Obama' minutes before John McCain and Sarah Palin were set to take the stage." During his speech, Platt said: "And think about how you'll feel on November 5 if you wake up in the morning and you see the news that Barack Obama, that Barack Hussein Obama is the president-elect of the United States of America." Pratt later said that "this year ... the number one most liberal senator in the United States of America was, you guessed it, the ambassador of change, Barack Hussein Obama."
This is not the first time Hannity has suggested that "[n]obody in the Republican Party" has brought up Obama's race or his "funny name." As Media Matters documented, on the July 31 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity asked Democratic strategist Michael Brown "a very specific question": "Can you name any prominent Republican that has brought up -- that has said that [Obama] is not patriotic, or that he's got a funny name, or that he doesn't look like those presidents on dollar bills? Do you know any prominent Republican that has said any of these things?"
From the October 9 edition of Fox's Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Governor Sarah Palin has been the toast of the Republican Party, luring the conservative base back to Senator McCain. But there are some extreme, left-wing Democratic lawmakers accusing her of resorting to race tactics on the campaign trail. Why? Palin recently referred to Barack Obama as, quote, "not one of us," prompting New York Congressman Greg Meeks to say the following, quote: "They know they can't win on issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear."
We continue with Ann Coulter and Pat Caddell.
If it wasn't so ridiculously idiotic and absurd, it'd be funny. But -- you know, but this -- this sounds a lot like Barack Obama: "They're going to tell you I have a funny name, and I don't look like those guys on the currency. And they're going to say, 'Oh, he's black?' " Nobody in the Republican Party is bringing this up except him and his supporters. Ann Coulter?
COULTER: I think this is --
HANNITY: Go ahead.
COULTER: -- I don't think this is helping Obama. He was, in the words of his vice-presidential choice, Joe Biden, supposed to be the new, you know, clean black candidate. By which, among other things, I assume he meant he wasn't constantly going to be haranguing white people for being racist.
So, going back to the old school of forcing white people to walk on egg shells -- I mean, there was a hockey mom claim, that that was racist. Joe Six-Pack, that that is racist. No one wants a black president more than I do, just so we can stop walking on egg shells.