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. matt

    if the swatica was still flown over public building in germany then every one in the south would not be in favor of it. but instead the stars and bars are ok?

    January 18, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA


    January 18, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Darth Vadik, CA

    memo to the South:

    You have nothing to be proud about except Martin Luther King.

    January 18, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Sean

    Southern people focus on all the lamest views for presidents, try to focus a little more on the important issues that impact everyone. McCain is just being politically correct, if he had said anything different that charlatan Al Sharpton would be asking for him to step down as a Candidate. Wake up folks, republicans are not going to win the election and McCain is the only shot you have.

    January 18, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Hmmm

    MJV – do you believe everything on the internet?

    January 18, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Kurt, Chicago

    What do S.C. Blacks think of Huckkkabee's support of the Conf Flag???

    January 18, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Libertarian

    Don't be fooled, Huckabeast wants the FEDERAL government to regulate everything in American lives, to what we eat, drink, smoke (or not smoke, since tobacco and McDonalds will be illegal in his administration) worship, have sex with, what flag we fly, and especially how much $ to give his authoritarian government.

    He raised taxes more in Arkansas in 8 years than Bill Clinton did in 12.

    He's another Huey P. Long / Jimmy Carter with an "R" next to his name.

    January 18, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Colonel Reb

    States are independent from the federal government...the State of South Carolina payed for its capitol building with the hard earned tax dollars of its citizens...Im sorry if you do not understand the Dixie, but respect that disrespect to the Confederate Flag is an insult to Southern Culture. Southerners are very proud of who they are and where they are from, just as any culture. I do not see any problem with this. We have the freedom of speech in America and the last time I checked that covered expression in any form. William Faulkner once said this," The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." To win over conservatives in the South you cannot be openly opposed to the Confederate Flag. It used to be used as a tool for foreign candidates to identify with the defiant culture of the South. Reagan used it, Nixon, and George HW used it aswell. Huckabee will not win because of this issue, but McCain and Romney will not help their image as a Washington insider whom plays into special interest. One of three Presidential Debates amongs the nominees will be held here in Oxford, Mississippi at Ole Miss. This issue isnt over I assure you. I would advise any candidate to be weary of their words concerning southern imagery such as, Dixie, and the Rebel Flag before campaigning at Ole Miss....Old Times here are not forgotten...

    January 18, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Venu, Chester, VA

    I don't think that Huckabee should stand by and say "People with confederate flags that everyone hates, you can support me!". If Huckabee doesn't go against them, why would ANYONE vote for him? I don't think the average voter wants to vote for someone with legions of Confederate loving southerners. I don't think McCain and Romney are excellent, but my point is just that Huckabee needs to change his stance on the flag thing or it's going to be a big "oh-oh" for him tomorrow.

    January 18, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. baxter, austin, tx

    hey gumbercules, i will buy you a one way greyhound ticket north yankie boy. sad for us you have to live in the south. Southern by the grace of God

    January 18, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Colonel Reb

    And secession isnt Treason, its a constitutional right. What the South did wasnt any different than what British Colonies did just one hundred years prior. A union held at gun point doesnt sound very free to me

    January 18, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. John G, New York, NY


    You have so eloquently summarized this issue.

    In the end, it isn't a matter of whether South Carolina has the right to fly the flag...or even whether they should bend to the demands of people from the rest of the country to remove it. They certainly have every right to wrap themselves in a symbol of slavery, racism, and treason....but the rest of us also have the right to form our opinions of South Carolina based on their decision.

    As my Virginian mother taught me, "You are judged by the company you keep."

    January 18, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Colonel Reb

    It amazes me after reading so many of the comments here how ignorant most Americans are in reference to their own history. 90% of Southern soldiers didnt even own a single slave. I highly doubt any man would die for someones right to own slaves. Sounds to me that their were bigger issues that troubled the thousands of sons from the South to give their lives to be free from a tryrannical centralized unitary government.

    January 18, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Jim Pence

    We wonder why the politicians can't ever solve a problem. With remarks like this between every day people what should we expect from or Government.

    January 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. Rob

    gumbercules, although I don't agree with the Confederate flag as a public symbol of heritage, you're being very disrespectful and idiotic when you degrade the long buried Confederate soldiers in Gettysburg; many of them were merely children who had no real ties to the Confederacy next to the fact that the rest of their family forced them to fight alongside them in the war; so to degrade their memory and their abrupt lives angers me and shows me that there's just as much ignorance and racism in your simplistic mind then in a lot of the people that you're trying to ride off

    January 18, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. InBoise

    here is my deal with this confederate flag thing...i don't agree with the confederates and i never will. one thing i would like to point out to everyone though is that these people's family members died in the civil war. they put down their lives for something they believed in, i'm not saying it was something good, but they are honoring their ancestors the same way i honor mine who fought in WW2 by flying a flag with a gold star on it.
    Honor the fallen...and by the way those men were Americans too.

    January 18, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Attacks by the Establishment

    You can tell the Education system in this country stinks, particularly outside Dixie!

    1. The Confederate Battle Flag in not the Stars and Bars. The Stars and Bars also referred to as the First National Flag resembles the American Flag due to the fact that Southerners at the beginning of the war saw themselves as much American as anyone else in this country and defending the 10th Amendment probably means even more so.

    2. The anti-south bigots that attack the Confederate Battle Flag over racial crap show their ignorance again. The Battle Flag was not created until after the first battle of the War for Southern Independence and was created in the heat of battle to distinquish between the two armies. Also, these idiots attack their flag, the American Flag if they want to get rid of a flag that flew over slavery or the slave ships that brought them over here, but I don't see these bigots calling for the American flag to come down!

    January 18, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Jeff

    That's why they hoisted the flag above the State House in the late '60s... right? Heritage, not hate. Certainly not a symbolic protest against the civil rights movement, no way. Otherwise it would have been flying there 100 years earlier, right?

    Says I, formerly of 1041 Marion Street, who used to look at the flag everyday out of my apartment window.

    January 18, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Henry

    I'm rural-Georgia born and raised, and I will never understand why any of my fellow Southerners make such a big deal about the Stars 'n' Bars. Give it up! It's the 21st Century.

    January 18, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Omar

    If South Carolina wants to fly the confederate flag and live in some dreamworld where the south rises again, then they should be left to defend themselves against al qaeda, and no longer receive ANY help from homeland security etc. Hell, I wish the south had won just so those worthless states wouldn't be a part of the USA anymore...they can keep their southern heritage to themselves.

    January 18, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  21. Dan, NJ

    States Rights? Really? Isn't that what George Wallace used as an excuse to try to prevent desegregation?

    States don't have the right to succeed from the Union. The flag is a symbol of that treason. Sure, in an ideal world the federal government should be able to allow states to do the right thing on their own. S.C. has not done so.

    January 18, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Rafi, NY NY

    Isn't the Confederate flag the battle flag of a foreign country that was at war with the United States?

    But it's okay to put that flag - from a war in which traitors killed plenty of American soldiers - on top of the State House?

    With that logic... why would it be treason to wave Iran's flag instead?

    January 18, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "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"

    Tough crap. The average guy with a Confederate flag on his truck is a screaming redneck, religious psycho and race bigot to the max. Who cares what he thinks?
    He could show his pride in "being a southerner" in many ways other than the terror represented by the Stars and Bars.

    Why is he proud of a heritage of hatred and bigotry? We're just passing from the only Redneck Presidency in history, and the support of that constituency shouldn't matter to ANYone. When has Southern support of any president helped this country?

    The South lost that war, those that fought in the Civil War against the North were flat-out traitors.

    This symbol of redneck stupidity, however, should not be outlawed. Indeed, it happily identifies the sad pathetic existence of those still whining over a war lost 143 years ago, like a big 'A' branded onto the foreheads of adulterers in early colonial America.

    And we are, after all, a freedom of speech society, despite the best efforts of the right wing to buy up the national media.

    Next, Huckabee will be supporting a Constitutional amendment banning the burning of the Confederate flag.

    January 18, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Pete, Michigan

    Liberals used to say: "While I may not agree with what you say, I'll defend to the death your right to say it".

    So much for Liberals being the champions of "Free Speech".

    I'm appalled at the comments I see on this board. As Americans we have all taken the Pledge of Allegiance to Old Glory, should there not be some reciprocation? Do we no longer have the freedom of expression? Perhaps for this reason people today look to the Confederate battle flag as the symbol it was for the Confederacy: Rebellion against a government that (in their perception) did not represent them, and trampled on their state's sovereignty (and therefore personal freedom).

    Lets not deceive our selfs about history, why else would poor (and non slave owning) farmers pick up arms against an economic and military powerhouse that was the north? To die for a rich plantation owner's "property"? I think not.

    January 18, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "The [Confederate] flag stands for heritage not hatred."

    Then you're a moron. The flag stands for murder and enslavement of blacks. Pick up a history book – and not something put out by the Revisionist Christians of Alabama.

    January 18, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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