January 18th, 2008
10:05 AM ET
13 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. E, KY

    Since when do we let foriegn flags (that is what the Confederate Flag is) fly on government property?

    January 18, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Mrjimbo, TX

    If South Carolina Gives their Deligates to either Huckabee or McCain, it will show the rest of the country that Bigots really to still run the south. For all the talk of being Christian from the Preacherman.........WOW

    Romney, hope this shows these folks you are the Candidate to represent them!

    WOW.......and I thought the Obama/Clinton civil war was bad.......

    January 18, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Walt

    I dont agree with the flag and what it stands for but I do believe that as Americans people have the right to fly it. I believe that is what Mike is trying to say. He's not supporting the flag.

    January 18, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Lee

    I am a South Carolinian, and am a direct descendant of a Confederate army veteran. I don't support that flag or the heritage it represents. I do realize there are a lot of people who are nuts about that flag. If you want to fly it in your front yard go for it, but I, like many other people in this state, don't want it on top of my state house.

    Despite all of that, this is NOT a presidential issue, and it makes me sad to see the people of my state characterized over and over by absurd issues like this.

    January 18, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. M. Lewis , Los Angeles, CA

    I like McCain, he speaks his mind and is not a puppet-like politician. It seems like Huckabee agrees with these people or he is not strong enough to state his real opinion, either way it is a bad move.......

    I am for Obama, but I will not vote for Hilary if she wins the Democratic nomination...

    Obama 2008

    or I hope for McCain....

    January 18, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Mario

    This doesn't matter about any issues, Hickupbee is not good for this country, He's a talker, not a doer.

    The media covers Hickupbee like they love him, but they just wantto make things "interesting" and get involved liek they usually do, Hickupbee isn't even liked by the Republican part, they want him out, he's just a lib dressed in republican clothes.

    Don't vote thins individual, he's bad news. His kid likes to kill dogs, he Does raise taxes and claims it was a court order tax raise where there is no such of a thing.

    He's a liar and is not qualified for any job to run this country, he would lose to the libs anyway, we need a strong leader, he isn't it.

    Go Mitt!

    January 18, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. John, Miami, FL

    The media's love affair with McCain is sickening. They don't even begin to discuss McCain's liberal stance on crucial conservative issues. He was one of 2 Republicans to vote against Bush's tax cuts, saying "they're just tax cuts for the rich." He has since changed his rationale (aka, he's lying) and is saying that he was for tax cuts, but only if they were accompanied by cuts in wasteful spending. That's not what McCain calls "straight-talk", it's double-talk. He's still for de facto amnesty, he just wants to secure the border before he allows illegals de facto amnesty. His proposed energy tax, co-sponsored by Lieberman, is a big government, liberal monstrosity. He blocked the Republican senate's attempt to appoint conservative justices when he joined the "Group of 14" with several Democrats. These are just some of the main ways in which McCain has rejected conservative ideology.

    While he has earned the endorsement of Democratic senators, look to what conservative thinkers and figures are saying about McCain. In short, they despise him and consider him a RINO (Republican in name only). Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt, Pat Buchanan, the list goes on- most every serious conservative thinker has rejected McCain's pro-amnesty, anti-free market record.

    McCain is too old, too liberal and too embedded in the liberal, big government philosophy to be a conservative leader. It's about time the media looks at his record with a critical eye.

    January 18, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Anybody but Romney


    The confederate flag represents "heritage". I'm black, & from Mississippi, I don't see the same meaning.

    January 18, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Cyrus

    Newsflash: what you call heritage is your history and legacy of shame. Germans don't wave the flag of the Third Reich as their "heritage". Get over it!! The only flag that matters in this country is the Red, White and Blue!!

    January 18, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Conservative4Life, USA

    Walt, the problem with this is that this is typical Huckabee fashion. He's trying to have it both ways. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth on an issue and when anyone tries to nail him down on something he brushes it off with some lame joke. He's not Presidential material. You'd think in a nation of 300 million we could find someone who is. Actually I've been searching for a year now and have found two real conservatives: Thompson or Romney. Either of them would be better than this joker and his liberal buddy Shamnesty McCain.

    January 18, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. rodlang

    The issue is not can some redneck fly the confederate flag over his house but should the state government fly that flag over state buildings, the state capital, etc.
    The state government should fly the American flag...unless they want to secede from the Union once again.

    January 18, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. lb, houston

    Go Romney all the way!

    January 18, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. esqueak

    I think I should add that it is tradition to those who can't see past the Civil War. Before that, there was one whole, undivided country. I think they should keep in in their homes if they want it, but that we should drop all this nonsense about treason and rebellion. People should also stop bring racism into everything. We were supposed to be over all of this a long time ago. The only reason it has carried on is because of what parents have been teaching their children.

    January 18, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Chi-town

    Where are the non-white South Carolinas that support the confederate flag??? HucKKKabee!!!

    January 18, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  15. Brad

    All this crap over a piece of cloth. If we've reached the point where a piece of cloth is what a vote hinges on, we truly are a pathetic nation of sheep.

    January 18, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Judi A. Nickels

    It is so typical of Christians with a holier than thou attitude to take a states' rights approach. If a majority opinion is something they agree with they are all for it on a national agenda. Issues like right to life, abortion, and gay civil rights that they do not feel they can win except by going state by state they choose to avoid on a national basis. Things that may not be agreed upon on a national level they decide are states' rights issues. The majority of people in the USA I believe would see the Confederate flag as a problem so for Huckabee this is a states' rights issue. Remember the Christian churches were opposed to integration and took this as a biblical stand.

    January 18, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Roger

    As far as I'm concerned, anybody who flies that TRAITOR flag is guilty of treason, and should be tried as such.

    Furthermore, South Carolina should never recieve one cent of American taxpayer money until they take that flag down. If they want to openly fly a flag of rebellion against the United States, then they don't deserve United States tax money.

    January 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. Mary, Michigan

    Thank goodness that guy's web site address is partially hidden...

    January 18, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Roger


    I'm from Massachusetts.

    I'll tell you what. We'll stop telling you that we disapprove of your racist treason flag, if you - as well as your bigoted, religious extremists representitives - stop trying to tell us which of our citizens can and cannot marry.


    January 18, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  20. Nick, Minneapolis, MN

    As a man who has learned much about The Civil War ,and how proud many southerners are of the aspects of their heritage that do NOT involve slavery and racism, I realize why many of them like the Battle Flag and are inclined to display it.

    The problem is not with being proud of their culture, but with what the symbol represents to those who do not understand their intent.

    If proud southerners wish to reclaim the Battle Flag from the racists and they would like to change the fact that 9 out of 10 Americans see it as a symbol of hate and evil, then they must take action much beyond what they do now.

    They also need to understand why it has become a symbol of racism. It was people from their own cities and towns who did this to the flag by using it whenever they demonstrated against civil rights. Way back before the KKK and all their like-minded buddies used it, it represented the veterans (many of whom were still alive) of the Confederate Army. Because most of them joined the cause against the Union for reasons other than slavery (only a few southerners at the time could afford a slave, much less a whole group of them), it did not represent racism or white supremacy during the decades immediately following the war.

    Regardless of how many may feel about it nowadays, the south basically did this to their own flag by looking the other way for so much of the 20th century. They can blame no one other than members of their own heritage who came before them.

    If they want to restore any sort of creditability to the flag, then they must aggressively move to undo the symbolism. Any organizations that wish to promote any positive usage of the flag need to go out of their way to support civil rights and demonstrate against racism. If Americans see the Battle Flag displayed by people donating to the NAACP, or people marching with signs that read "Southerners for Equal Rights" or "Racism Must Go!" then that would be a start.

    Actions speak louder than words. The south needs to undo what they have done if they wish to use the Battle Flag. If that's too much to ask, then they should leave them in the Civil War museums.

    January 18, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Mary, Kansas

    The Confederate flag was, and is, the banner of treason.

    January 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. joanieloveschachi

    What they can do with the pole? Seriously? What kind of christian is this man? I certainly would leave this country if we had such a hypocrite in office. He's worse than the gay people he seems to hate so much. God forbid he gets elected

    January 18, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Herb

    Finally people are starting to see the real Huckleberry. The guy says he is the true "Christian" / pro-family candidate and then makes comments like “let me show you where to put this pole”.

    To Huckleberry and his band of fake Christian bigoted followers I say LET US SHOW YOU WHERE TO PUT YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIN!!

    January 18, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Lev Klinemann, CA

    Huckabee is as dirty as Bush,

    ...same result, McCain looses again.

    January 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Jimmad

    My opinion is that whatever the stars and bars stand for in the eyes of the descendants of the rebels, to me it says you are nostalgic for the "good old days" of slavery, and that is pathetic. America would've been a hell for all of us had the south won the U.S. civil war.

    January 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
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