December 29th, 2008
10:44 AM ET
3 years ago

Most of Saltsman's Republican rivals slam Obama parody

Shanklin’s album is stirring new controversy among conservatives.
Shanklin’s album is stirring new controversy among conservatives.

(CNN) – Republican Party reaction remains divided over the decision of a candidate for party chairman to distribute a CD that featured the parody tune “Barack the Magic Negro,” with the majority of Chip Saltsman’s political rivals criticizing the move.

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan – battling to keep his job as head of the party – was the first prominent member of the GOP to criticize Saltsman for sending committee members the song.

Watch: Saltsman's CD makes waves in the party

"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," RNC Chairman Mike Duncan said in a Saturday statement.

"I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate, as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."

Michigan party chairman Saul Anuzis also questioned Saltsman’s judgment. "In my opinion, this isn't funny and its in bad taste," he said in a statement. "Just as important, anything that paints the GOP as being motivated in our criticism of President-elect Obama by anything other than a difference in philosophy does a disservice to our party."

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Jim Greer – who has reportedly been weighing a run for the party’s top spot, but has not officially announced a bid - released a Monday morning statement praising candidates who have weighed in against the "racially-insulting song."

“As the GOP Chairman in one of our nation’s most ethnically and culturally diverse states, I am especially disappointed by the inappropriate words and actions we’ve seen over the past few days," he said. "I am proud of those party leaders who have stood up in firm opposition to this type of behavior."

"Actions such as the distribution of this CD, regardless of intent, only serves to promote divisiveness and distracts us from our common goal of building our party."

Saltsman sent RNC members the parody CD "We Hate the USA" for Christmas, which includes the controversial tune. He defended his decision Friday, telling CNN the song was clearly intended as a joke.

"I think most people recognize political satire when they see it," Saltsman told CNN. "I think RNC members understand that."

Saltsman, a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party, was a top advisor to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.

He is one of several candidates running to replace Duncan in the closely contested race to lead the Republican Party.

The song, set to the tune of the 1960s pop hit "Puff the Magic Dragon," was first played on Rush Limbaugh's radio show in 2007. Its title was drawn from a Los Angeles Times column that suggested Obama appealed to those who feel guilty about the nation's history of mistreatment of African-Americans.

Saltsman said the song, penned by long-time friend Paul Shanklin, should be easily recognized as satire directed at the Times.

The CD includes parody songs referencing former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, among other targets.

Ken Blackwell – on of two African-American candidates for party chair – agreed with Saltsman’s assessment, defending him in a weekend statement. "Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race,” said the former Ohio secretary of state – who, if elected, would be the first black chairman of the RNC. “This is in large measure due to President-Elect Obama being the first African-American elected president.

“I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."

But some younger members of the party were less understanding, as the debate over the satire spread through conservative circles. James Richardson, the RNC’s online communication manager for the 2008 cycle, called Saltsman’s move “quite the revealing faux pas.”

“Granted, he didn’t pull a George Allen and personally call Obama a ‘magic negro,’ but sending a CD with those lyrics shortly after electing the first African American President – one supported by nearly 97% of the African American community – shows a serious lack of judgment, tact, and the necessary level of racial sensitivity expected of public officials,” wrote Richardson, a Red State contributor, on conservative blog The Skepticians.

“And while I’m sure Saltsman doesn’t espouse racist sentiments, this will undoubtedly be spun as an angry, white Southerner stoking the flames of racial tensions after losing to a minority candidate. Hell, why don’t we go ahead and give ‘em the other 3%, too, Chip?”

Most of the candidates for RNC chairman – including Saltsman, Anuzis, Blackwell and Greer – will face off in one week in Washington in a public debate sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform. Duncan, who has been invited, has not yet confirmed his attendance.


Filed under: Chip Saltsman • RNC
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. Not Fooled!

    The RNC needs to drop this guy like a bad habit. To all those that are criticizing the Republican party, remember Murtha, ect. representing the Democrats.

    There is always some idiot in the bunch, and I'm sure CNN will run this in the ground... RACE AND POLITICS....

    Just another distraction from the obvious meltdown of Chicago politics. If Obama has nothing to do with the Blago investigation, why did he request to move into the Blair House early? Why did he then decide to go on vacation in Hawaii? I know the answer... Get as far away from Chicago as possible!!

    Not everyone is retarded in this country CNN. I was a Democrat, but now I'm Independent. Don't think we haven't noticed CNN's even bigger move to the left. Lou Dobb's and Glenn Beck are missing from the lineup... I guess we can all get the REAL news from D.L. Hughley (LOL)

    December 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. obama-mama

    Appalled Hoosier December 29th, 2008 11:13 am ET

    Do you STILL think that those 'left wingers' are simply playing the race card over this "imagined racism" that exists within the Republican Party?
    __________________________________________________
    You're taking up precious air someone with intelligence could be using.

    December 29, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. obama-mama

    libby December 29th, 2008 11:26 am ET

    Oh!, get a life, its commedity!
    ________________________________________
    No one finds it funnyity....Moron.

    December 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Dave

    A good read is the Clint eastwood interview on CNN today where he says that we just take ourselves too seriously. This is a case of it.

    December 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Anna

    these conservatives never stop their cheap tactics to stay in news.

    December 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Mitch Florida

    To LIP,

    Stop using the tired old excuse of Lincoln was a Repiblican and the like. The present day Republican party is not the Republican Party of old and likewise for the Democratic Party. I am sick and tired Republicans towing the party lines and not calling out their own party members when they are in the wrong. That is not to say that Democrats don't do the same thing, but Democrats seem to hold their party members accountable whenever a mistake more times than not. So please recognize the Republican party as it is today it is right now being portrayed by party members as a white people party and others are welcome only if they are invited and to meet the quota to say that they are a diverse party. Now look at your party and please recognize that it is a long way from the party of Lincoln and the like and stop trying to make excuses for party members when they make a mistake. Think about the country unity first instead of party loyalty, we are all Americans.

    December 29, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. tom

    so sad-–i am one of five kids all my siblings are republicans because they are bible bangers. and i just laughed at them at x-mas party, they just doent get it just because you say i am a christain so that gives me the right to force my opinon and beliefs on others is so against what this nation was founded on. wake up republicans this country is doen with you.

    December 29, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Take a break, Liberals

    Some of you (& you should know who you are) obnoxious and hypocritical liberals need to re-focus your energy and quit giving the Democratic Party a bad name. Can you really be that ignorant and mentally incompetent to think that Saltsman is a true representative of the Republican Party? With that logic, Rev. Jackson (who wanted to castrate your Messiah Obama) must be a dead-on reflection of Democrats. How about the great Gov. Blago. from Illinois? Not to mention, Mrs. Obama hasn't been proud of the U.S.A. until people started voting for her husband. Give us all a break. I know CNN.com is a comfort zone for your liberal hatred, but try to use some form of common sense before you start confirming your ignorance on this "Ticker"!

    December 29, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. obama-mama

    billy-bayou December 29th, 2008 11:50 am ET

    there is nothing more fun to watch than a bunch of democraps with their G-string drawn too tight because of some silly negro parody.
    get a life you poor stupid frigging people.

    And carol: you're not fit to shine Rush Limbaughs shoes, you need to take the place of Monica Lewinskey under the obanas desk.
    ______________________________________________________Billy you probably slept with your redneck sister last night.....

    December 29, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Jerry inMA

    Have any of you actually listened to this song?

    It's making fun of Al Sharpton and all the self appointed leaders of the African American community, who are now out of a job now that Obama is President.

    If you get off your high horses and actually listen to it in that context, it's really quite funny.

    December 29, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. N. S. Huntsville, Al

    NOTHING BUT RACIST BASTARDS AND ANYONE THAT THINKS ITS O.K CAN GO TO HELL, OH THEY WILL EVENTUALLY!!!

    December 29, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Dave

    Not Fooled! Good post. Those that truly know how the world works can see the distractions that are created to cover for other things.

    December 29, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. California Gold

    After Sarah Palin and the throngs of Republicans flocking to support her (no pun intended for the Thanksgiving photo shoot), I am thinking perhaps this is the identity of the Republican Party. Racist politicians, fear mongering, claiming slurs and mockery of race as funny: all in the last 3 months of 2008. Perhaps this is the core of the GOP. This is their coveted "base". The fact there is such comfort and ease with these GOP members is telltale of the truth. Shameful.

    December 29, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  14. Mesa

    If it was a satire about Bush, would all of you still be upset?

    December 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. John in Ohio

    "Southern Democrats continued to keep them in virtual slavery for the next hundred years and that it took Lyndon Johnson to push legislation to finally do what many Republicans had been trying to do in a Democratically controlled congress for years…equal rights. Southern Democrats finally realized that there was a huge voting block down South and finally changed their ways and now somehow they have managed to point the Racism finger at Republicans and people actually believe this BS? Give me a break."

    No, the Dixiecrats bailed on the Democrats and turned into Republicans, which is why Republicans have won the South since 1980. Reagan tapped into the Christian Conservatives in the South, who also wound up being outright racists 9 times out of 10 (frist, strom thurmond, etc), and this bought the Republicans a huge voting block in the deep South when the northern and west coast liberal Democrats pushed or reformed the idiot racists out of the party. The Democrats of 1950 were not the Democrats of 1980. Study more American political history, and realize that the political party label a person uses can change more readily then the person.

    It's also worth noting that it was Democrat President Harry Truman that desegregated the Armed Forces, leading the way for the civilian world.

    December 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  16. A.M.

    Actually this is political satire at it's best. Stiring up controversy over to those who are nothing more than hypocrits.

    Does anyone remember: If you put lipstick on a pig... It's still a pig.

    Hmm, I believe that was political satire too. Doesn't matter if it was targeted at the RNC in general or Sarah Palin. Both resulted in calling someone nothing more than a pig.

    Get over it. Now to show my support by buying this CD.

    December 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. John in Ohio

    I love the scattered idiot racist Republicans posting here. Hopefully they get a bigger role in the Republican Party, they keep things up and the next elections will go 80-20 in the favor of the Democrats.

    December 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. N. S. Huntsville, Al

    This guy is an Idiot if he thinks it is cute and funny, he should be ashamed of himself. The Republican pary is racist I'm sorry I can't stand them, they hate blacks and they think the pure white race is the way of the future. We are in 2008 and when will white crackers learn that there is no pure race. This is ashame, he will come up with a lame apology to brush it away, but he needs to fired and never again be the leader of anything, he is a KKK you can tell.

    December 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Apples for sale

    The South lost again,haha.Who was Mike Connell and why did his plane run out of gas?

    December 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. BUSH BEGONE AND 75% OF AMERICANS FINALLY AGREE!

    @Lip

    I have to point out that all the examples you quoted as Republican examples of tolerance are now dead....

    December 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Suzi

    The whole album sounds stupid and juvenile. Parody and satire are a matter of personal taste, but even though I don't like Bush, I wouldn't be interested in a satire that made fun of him. If I get emails making fun of him I just delete them. I think we should respect the office of the president - disagree yes, but still respect them.

    December 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Kathy

    The hate filled words so many people have written shows how divided our nation has become. It's truly sad there are so many racists people in America who can't see beyond the color of someone's skin. The CD was ugly and uncalled for but we need to stop the distrust and unite as Americans instead of labeling ourselves as either "Left" or "Right" so we come together and work towards a better America for not only the Rich and Powerful but for ALL Americans.

    December 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. dr.mimi de la cuz

    CONDOLIZA RICE SEEMS TO THINK THAT ALL OF US

    ARE AS HAPPY WITH WHAT BUSH AS DONE AS SHE IS.

    HE MIGHT HAVE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR HER.

    IN FACT I AM CERTAIN HE DID. HISTORY USUALLY REVEALS ALL.

    December 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Scott

    This is Saltsman's Macaca moment. His career is over.

    December 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. OBAMA/BIDEN

    GOP ITS GONNA LOSE AGAIN 2010 -2016 BECAUSE ITS KINDA STUFF. THEY NEED CHANGE THE NAME GET NEW PARY . THEN I MIGHT SUPPORT THEM

    LOSSERS

    December 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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