June 16th, 2009
01:06 PM ET
9 years ago

Racist e-mail aimed at Obama raises hackles in Tennessee

(CNN) - The chairman of Tennessee's Democratic Party wants a Republican legislative aide fired for sending out a "reprehensible" e-mail depicting President Obama as two cartoonish white eyes peering from a black background.

Obama's image is in the last square of a collage containing portraits of the previous 43 U.S. presidents. Copies of the e-mail were posted on the Internet Monday.

Sherri Goforth, an administrative assistant to state Sen. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, has admitted she sent the e-mail May 28 with the title "Historical Keepsake Photo." She said, without elaborating, that she mistakenly sent it "to the wrong list of people."

According to the Tennessean, a Nashville newspaper, a note on the e-mail said it was paid for by the Tennessee Republican Party, but GOP officials denied that they produced it. Black chairs the Senate Republican Caucus.

Full story

Filed under: President Obama • Tennessee
soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. PFFT

    BTW, I do have a question – why is it when anyone makes fun of Obama it's racist and people have to apologize, but when anyone makes fun of the right, it's okay and lauded?

    June 16, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Nicole

    I wish I could say that I was shocked that this came from my home state, but I'm not. Just disappointed–not because it happened, because it could have happened anywhere, but because of the reaction I've already seen around here that largely seems to be composed of people giggling over the email and making disparaging comments about the President.

    Yay, Tennessee. As much as I love it here sometimes it makes me want to hide my face.

    June 16, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. bsmith171

    bush was always shown as a NAZI and he was called upon to be killed.

    is that OK?

    June 16, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. J.P.

    What's that?! A recent poll shows for the first time in more than five years, 40% of Americans identify themselves as "conservative," over the 30-ish percent who consider themselves "moderate" and 21% who identify as "liberal?"

    Quick! Hurry! Run a "racism" canard story!
    Something! Anything! Just change the subject!

    "And in other news tonight, George Bush is still dumb. ... and a racist, too. Pictures at 11."

    June 16, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Dee

    There has been endless media coverage over the Letterman joke about Palin's daughter and yet we hear little media outrage over these despicable racist jokes about the President and First Lady.
    Why is that? This type of racism should be given as much ,if not more, coverage. This type of racism is vile and should be condemned in the loudest of terms so it is clear it is unacceptable in today's society!!

    June 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Kwaku,Nashville

    what do you expect from these people?...and they call themselves christians...they are so full of hate!

    June 16, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Sorry. Read it wrong. Sherri Goforth Needs bricks rained on her, instead. Nothing like admitting to everyone that not only are you a bigot, but you have a whole email list of bigoted friends.

    June 16, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. etl

    The difference between this "joke" and Letterman's is that it was sent by an elected official – not a comedian.

    June 16, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Kathleen

    And just who would be the "right list of people"? Reprehensible and indefensible.

    June 16, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. etl

    An elected official's aide – sorry

    June 16, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. SlowGun

    She said, without elaborating, that she mistakenly sent it "to the wrong list of people."


    Someone needs to ask Sherri Goforth, who is the "right" list of people for this kind of email?

    June 16, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. Seth

    And that is why the Republicans can never be trusted with power, they are unable to be good Americans they still believe that racial hate and division is a good thing.
    The GOP needs 30-40 years of wilderness to learn how to live in the new America.

    June 16, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. WhoCares?

    Yes...She sent it to the wrong list of people....the non-racists.

    Sad that she even has a list of people that she WOULD sent this to.

    I mean WOW. I am so glad I don't live in the south. How do people of faith live with the inherent rasicm and still live there?

    June 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Molly


    June 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. JonDie

    How could the Republicans fire this person? From the GOP standpoint racist attacks and depictions are just fine.

    June 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. G

    The South sucks

    June 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Mark in North Carolina

    This collage is despicable, as is Ms. Goforth's "apology". That she intended to send this to ANYONE is deplorable. She should be fired, if for no other reason than pour encourager les autres.

    And for the record, I am a white Republican who did NOT vote for Mr. Obama. He is now my President, however.

    June 16, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Mississippi Girl

    When will it stop! But in their (GOP) defense, I am sure "it was just a JOKE", My ass. Sad and these are the people in charge of the public well being. A dark spot on TN shame, shame, shame (a crying shame literally)

    June 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. denverdoc

    A republican from Tennessee, 'nuff said. Why the surprise?

    June 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Peter (CA)

    "to the wrong list of people"
    I meant to send it to my fellow racists instead.

    Whine all you want right wingers but you are the ones who hate, destroy, and then blame others.

    June 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Shawn - GA

    I did not vote for this President, I do not like most of his ideas and what he plans to do to the country...

    Having said that...

    I DEPLORE and am I discussed by racism. I am a white male and I have seen these type of e-mail coming in ever since the election. I denounce them and I make sure that the person who sent it knows I do not tolerate this, and if they want to keep me as a friend I shall never see this again or I will know the person they are and that they were not just "passing along a joke"

    OK off my soapbox.. thank you for your time.

    June 16, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Kelby In Houston, TX

    If this happened in corperate America, she'd be fired without question. She would have been fired the moment HR found out that she sent it.

    June 16, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Momwrites

    It is one thing to make a joke, another to promote racism. If there were charicatures of all the Presidents, this would have been funny. That it only targeted Pres. Obama is racist. That the e-mail was sent by a Republican aide of a Republican Senator, is not excusable. It all goes back to the 'pay attention to what I say, not what I do' mentality too familiar to the American public in regards to the 'leaders' in Washington. The Republicans have learned they live in glass houses, the Democrats have learned they live in glass houses, making snide attacks without taking responsibility is not what we need from our leaders. I don't care if you are an aide, a senator, a judge or a cabinet member, there are too many things you should be working on for the American people and too much attention placed on pranks better left behind years before on the first grade school yard.

    June 16, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. David Letterman

    Remember it's just free speech...

    June 16, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Say What

    I dont know whats really going on with the GOP., but this must STOP.
    The truth in the matter they just cant handle a person of color running the highest office. This is not 1940 this is 2009 we as Americans most turn the page. Sometime I feel the US is falling down. GOP is being run by fools. Our nation has so many issues, its a job.
    Our Nation is dying, children are crying millons of people are screaming. Its almost like a melt down. But Obama is still going to
    delivery a new sound. The GOP can't stop it. This person needs to be FIRE. I hope most Americans dont feel that way. We need to move on and make our Nation the greatest Nation. But it starts with YOU!

    June 16, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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