January 18th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
6 years ago

Pro-Confederate flag ads praise Huckabee, bash Romney, McCain

(CNN) – An independent group that supports the public display of the Confederate flag is running ads in South Carolina through Saturday’s Republican primary that praise Mike Huckabee for his stand on the issue and attack his main rivals in the state, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

“Gov. Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is, he’s proud to be a Southerner,” says the announcer in one of the one-minute spots, paid for by Americans for the Preservation of American Culture.

“Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage, and why. He says it’s up to us to decide how. Sen. McCain may have decided that his ancestors, as he puts it, ‘were on the wrong side of history when they wore gray.’ But in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners.”

The Arizona senator’s stand on the Confederate flag helped derail his 2000 presidential bid in South Carolina, and he has criticized it as a "racist symbol." McCain has said on the trail this week that he is "proud" of South Carolinians for removing the flag from atop the State House.

Another one-minute spot takes aim at Romney. “Waving a Confederate battle flag in front of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney turns out to be like waving a red flag in front of a bull. He charges,” says the announcer, citing Romney’s remarks during the CNN/YouTube debate criticizing public display of the flag.

“Gov. Huckabee’s a Southerner, who understands why Southerners value our heritage. That honoring the flag is part of honoring our heritage. And he says it’s our issue. It should be up to us to decide. We’ve got a message for Mitt Romney: in South Carolina, we’re proud to be Southerners."

Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told CNN that “Gov. Romney believes that the issue was settled by the people of South Carolina with the compromise in 2000.”

The one-minute ads will be running on South Carolina conservative talk radio stations in Charleston, Columbia, Florence, and Greenville.

On Thursday, Huckabee told voters at a Myrtle Beach campaign event that “You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag. In fact, if somebody came to Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we’d tell them what to do with the pole.”

The Huckabee campaign has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (209 Responses)
  1. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Its true...the Republicans are scattered and not sure who to pick for a nominee – whereas the Democrats have decided that a path of socialism and huge government programs and high taxes is the way to go....dopes

    January 18, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. McCain-in-4

    When the Confederate Flag is being displayed because of an individual's choice – that individual is making some sort of "statement". We can chat with anyone displaying this flag and get their views – after all, it IS their statement, in a way they want to understand it. No problem there.

    But when a governing body is proudly displaying this flag, how does the common man on the street find out what the underlying "statement" is? If police cars were to show up in your front yard and men with guns drawn are banging on your door, would you be comforted knowing there is a Confederate Battle Flag proudly pasted to their cars? Or whenever you need to attend court – as a defendant or claimant – looking there alongside the judge – is it the defenders of this flag whom are judging us, or people more sinister?

    There is a reason why our flag – that we pledge alliegence to – has 50 stars and 13 stripes. The early flags, with fewer stars on them, have been relegated to museums as proud reminders of who we were – yet, like the Declaration of Independence, will never leave us.

    January 18, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    somebody wanna tell these idiots that the Civil War is over??

    January 18, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. John G, New York, NY

    Leave it Huckabee to bring out the lowest common denominator in Southern politics.

    January 18, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Al, NY NY

    There goes the white supremecist, hillbilly vote for McCain. Good riddance to them

    January 18, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Bill, Albany, NY

    Figures losers who fly that fly the loser flag support another loser. Im sorry this isnt the Confederacy this is the United States. Only the US flag should be flown on top of Federal and State buildings. These are also the same people who complain about people who fly the Irish, Mexican, British, Puerto Rican flags as well. Hypocracy 101 people. But I could care less if someone wants to fly that flag on their own home. Go Romney and McCain.

    January 18, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Is there any hope?

    I mean come on. Where's Strom Thurmond when you need him.

    January 18, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Chad

    Yet more proof that Huckabee could not win the general election.

    January 18, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Mary, Michigan

    I agree with you, MISSOURIAN. Well said.

    January 18, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Arthur K

    Does Huckabee support my right to hang a Nazi flag outside my home and in the back window of my truck because I am proud of my German Heritage? There really is no difference. Both symbolize the persecution and murder of innocent people.

    January 18, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Attacks by the Establishment

    Looks like the anti-south bigots are coming out in full force to support McCain and Romney. We can only hope the yankee influence will be rejected in favor of Ron Paul but if Ron does not make it then perhaps the Huck will win but anybody but the anti-south bigots!

    General Robert E. Lee once said, "Work is now what we require, work by everybody....By this course the good old times of former days.....will return again. We may not see them but our children will, and we will live over again in them."

    January 18, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  12. Georgian

    I know of no other country in the history of the world that quashed a rebellion, and then alowed the symbol of that rebellion to fly 150 years later.

    These pro-Confederate troglodytes give all TRUE Southerners a bad name. The South has plenty of heritage to celebrate exclusive of the Confederate flag and the racism and hatred it represents. Honoring the Confederate flag as part of our heritage is like honoring the Crusades as part of the Christian heritage.

    January 18, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    You treasonist racists lost! Get over it!

    January 18, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. Georgian

    John G, the lowest common denominators among us need no help from politicians to come out...

    January 18, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Doug

    All Huckabee said is to let the State decide what is on the State flag.

    He has said nothing to favor the confederate flag, only that those in other states should mind their own business. Can you imagine if people from other states were telling your state what you should have on your flag? To better understand it, imagine the same situation applying to your favorite sports team...

    As the bumper sticker says, they "...don't care how you do it up north!"

    Also, just for the record, Huckabee was instrumental in desegregating a church and carried 30% of the black vote in Arkansas as a Republican. He hates racism and has actively worked against it – not in some segregated enclave where it is all about feeling better about yourself, but in the nitty gritty day to day reality of the poor South. Nobody has ANY room to criticize him on race.

    I am a Northerner living in Michigan, but I spent a few years in South Carolina. There are distinct differences between racism and State's Rights that folks that haven't lived in the region just don't understand. Some people who fly the flag are racists – no doubt. Some are not, they are simply proud to be a Southerner – not so different than someone who proudly wears a Green Bay Packers jersey.

    It should also be noted that the folks that are most proud to be a Southerner are perhaps paradoxically the most patriotic Americans you will ever meet. There are cultural differences – those of us who have open minds can step back and value the diversity of this great country of ours – including the various cultures of the deep South.

    January 18, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  16. Todd C.

    A vote for Hucklebee is a vote for a Bush 3rd term.

    Don't be stupid, America!!

    January 18, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Harrison, NC

    Good heavens! Has Huckabee been in a cave for the last 100 years? Proud Southerns do not need this IDIOT portraying or representing anything associated with the South! An idiot is an IDIOT no matter what geographical section of this beautiful country they originate!

    January 18, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Terry, El Paso, TX

    As a southerner descended from Confederate soldiers I can comment. There is nothing about the Confederate rebellion that Southerners should be proud of – except for the bravery of the men who died fighting for slavery.

    1. Slavery was the issue. Lincoln's election was the precipitating event.

    2. About 25% of the Confederate population was in slavery at the time of the Civil War. One in four famlies owned one or more slaves, but most slave-owning families owned relatively few slaves. A few freed Black men were themselves owners of Black slaves. Native Americans were also enslaved, but much less frequently.

    3. The first slave came to Virginia more than 200 years before the Civil War. So, for two centuries, Southern Whites enslaved, controlled, and punished slaves and forced them to work. During that time, millions of Africans and their descendants had no rights and were bought and sold as property. Mothers were sold away from their children and husbands were sold away from their wives.

    4. The number of Africans who died of overwork, poor nutrition, treatable disease, and neglect will never be known, but it was surely millions. The number of Africans who were murdered by their owners will never be known. The number of African women who were raped by their owners will never be known. It was a common disciplinary practice for pregnant African women to watch a male slave be tortured to death. the belief then was that the fetus would absorb the terror of the mother as she watched, and this would make the newly born slave more docile.

    5. After the slaves were freed, Black Americans were treated terribly. My great grandfather told his granddaughter – my mother – that he watched a Black man being burned at the stake in the piney woods of east Texas. He told her that he was never able to get over the shame of not having the courage to confront that angry mob and persuade them to take the man to the distant county sheriff's office. He told her that the lynch mob was mostly composed of Methodists, but there was a sprinkling of other denominations present.

    5. Hitler's 15 year long Third Reich was a Sunday School picnic compared to the old South.

    6. There is nothing in this history to be proud of. The Stars and Bars is an embarrassment, not a symbol of anything positive.

    January 18, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Roger - IL

    Flying the Confederate Flag on the Statehouse grounds is not a decision for the President. It is something that should be debated among the people of South Carolina.

    To the people who believe in the Stars and Bars and say it is their Heritage. I understand your beliefs. However that flag is one of the most decisive symbols in this country. It should be taught but not celebrated.

    January 18, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Dionysis

    "“Gov. Huckabee understands that all the average guy with a Confederate flag on his pickup truck is saying is, he’s proud to be a Southerner,” says the announcer in one of the one-minute spots, paid for by Americans for the Preservation of American Culture.

    “Mike Huckabee understands we value our heritage, and why. He understands what while objectively there is no real basis for the idea of 'Southern Culture' beyond (1) agrarianism vs. industrialized states and (2) racism. Gov. Huckabee realizes full well that South Carolina is full of talibangelical extremists and racists, and by God, they can count on him to exploit their ignorance.

    January 18, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Stopwatchinghardball, Rochester, NY

    Is anyone else hearing the two banjos from "Deliverance"?

    I feel sorry for the majority of decent people in SC who have to deal with these red necks who think the south is gonna rise up again. They give the state a bad name. Well you had G. Bush, wasn't that enough? The funny thing is, I bet that person in the photo would do much better economically if a Democrat was the President, but he's too stupid to realize it.

    January 18, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. General Sherman

    To paraphrase, "Take This Flag and Shove It!"

    January 18, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Kris In Atlanta

    Well when all else fails, bring out the Confederate Flag. I thought this was an isue that had been dealt with a long time ago. If you choose to wave that flag in your home or on your truck, then do so. That is your right. However, no government buildings should promote the flag because at its core, it represents some of the ugliest apsects of American and Southern history. Hello! This was the flag used by seperatist traitors who later killed and tortured their own countrymen.

    Huckabee has shown he will sink to any depths. Bigotry is abundant however, I believe this is something that wil come back to bite Huck in the place he wants people to put that pole. What works in Arkansas may not work in other parts of the South. Huckabee, this is not Gone With The Wind. The South and Southerners are living and leading in the 21st century. Our cities are large, cosmopolitan, and the demographic is diverse. These type of exploitative politics that has become a Huckabee hallmark should be tucked away in his attic with all the rest of his Confederate/KKK junk.

    January 18, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Z, St. Louis

    Yet another appeal to Huckabees white trash legions..The kooky christian,
    confederate flag waving, inbred 6 toed hoosier is his fan base..Maybe after
    he looses a few more states he can preach on the christian backyard wrestling
    circuit..

    January 18, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. California

    This is purely a states’ rights issue. Considering the Civil War was largely fought over that, it’s funny the issue is coming full circle back to where it started. If South Carolinians want to fly a flag, let them! What difference does it make to any other state? If you live there and don’t like it, then make your voice heard, but for the rest of us, it’s THEIR state! In California we fly the California Republic flag which in essence is saying we are a separate republic from the US. I would have the same negative reaction if a presidential candidate or someone from another state told me to take it down.

    January 18, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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