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. Lee

    Yes , the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern heritage. So is slavery, racism,
    segregation, murder and lynchings. How proud are you of those?
    There is only one flag for the United States of America, the good old red, white and blue!

    January 18, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. GaryofCircleville

    Flag bag BFD. We have this fool in KS that calls himself a Christan. He flys the flag upside down; he pickets Vet funerals and he is a disgusting fool. HOWEVER, our Founging Fathers made provisions for all to be heard. The Constitution First and Foremost. Go Ron Paul!

    January 18, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Sensible Cape Coral Fl

    I agree that the Confederate Fllag represents heritage. But it is a heritage that
    is based on hatred, greed, prejudice and bigotry. Who in the world would be proud of that?

    January 18, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. beavis

    That flag stands for heritage? Of who? The arians? The KKK? Definition of heritage: 'Noun, Property that is or can be inherited; an inheritance.
    Something that is passed down from preceding generations; a tradition.
    The status acquired by a person through birth; a birthright: a heritage of affluence and social position'

    Exactly what the heck are you passing down? Racism? I'd like to know the answer.

    January 18, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Nick

    I am a native South Carolinian and someone that is "proud to be from the South." However, being proud of my homestate has nothing to do with the confederate flag. No matter how people want to twist the "heritage vs. hate" argument, everyone should be able to see that the confederate flag stands for division and a dark period in our nation's history. The only time it should've been flown over our statehouse was from 1861-1864. People need to understand that Huckabee is making a case that the flag issue is a State issue, and doesn't have anything to do with national politics. And where is your sense of humor? Are some of you seriously offended by his "where to put the pole" comment? Obviously it was a joke.

    The picture of the fool attached to this article is very misrepresentative of the majority of the people in this state. Most of us have moved on past 1968. As the younger generation comes into power, you will see the flag be moved where it needs to be, a museum.

    January 18, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    If South Carolina picks Huckabee, I won't spend any money in that state. If we took principled stands against this type of hillbillyism, survival of the fittest would weed them out. The people that can afford to spend money in other states should pick those states by how their populace deserves it. Yes,this is a threat to your next tourist season.

    January 18, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Heather

    I am in total agreement with Doug. I was born and raised in PA, but have lived in NC for four years with my husband who is a born southerner. Read Doug's comment. He's the only who knows what he's talking about. It's history, it's family, it's ancestors, and it's a passionate attachment. It's a state issue. Huckabee is right. No one in this country, especially a large number of southern citizens, should be written off as archaic and backward, as some people in this forum would have them. Even a yankee can learn that lesson and see beyond the surface with an open mind, as Doug said.

    January 18, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Rafi, NY NY

    Pete in Michigan:

    The difference is that we're talking about a government building here, not individuals. If people want to put that flag on their homes or cars, that's totally fine under the first amendment. I may not agree with their decision, but I'll defend to the death their right to make it. 😉

    But the flag used by an enemy of the United States during wartime has no place whatsoever on a government building. Free speech applies to people, not to governments.

    January 18, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Phil of Colorado

    I agree with Huckabee that this is a matter for the people of South Carolina. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says that the Federal Government has a right to dictate the design of a state's flag. For better or for worse, the Civil War is a part of our heritage. It is what it is. Its a matter of free speech and state rights. The flag should serve as a reminder that issues split the country, but at the end of the day, we need to all come together.

    January 18, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. John D

    After reading many of these comments it appears difficult, if not impossible, to reason with insensitive, backword and ignorant people. The bottom line here is that the confederate flag is very offensive to the majority of Americans across this great nation. And, it should be. The confederate flag was the flag of a domestic terrorist organization. It still is to this very day! The confederate flag is silly! Most young people laugh at it and it makes adults and the brainwashed kids you display it look stupid. So, take that crap off your truck! If you must fly a flag...fly the American Flag! Be proud of that!

    January 18, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Chris, Washington, D.C.

    I'm Virginian, and maybe that doesn't count as Southern. I don't really know and I don't really care. But how on earth a flag waved during a failed rebellion counts as a proud display of Southern culture, I'll never know. I'll also never know how anyone could find policies on waving or not waving a stupid flag as an important campaign position.

    January 18, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Chris, Jacksonville

    The Confederacy was a terrorist organization who believed it was right for some human being s to be allowed to own, buy and sell other human beings and they tried to tear this country apart.

    That "heritage" is nothing to be proud of!

    January 18, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Bob

    I have many opinions on this article, but the main one is that once again, something irrelevant about a "viable candidate" is making the news while whatever equally irrelevant thing Ron Paul is doing is completely ignored.

    January 18, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. George Bond

    Some of the comments here are ignorant to a degree unrivalled by the most uncouth redneck. If you have never lived in the South, and know nothing of history, you have no clue the oppression the South suffered from the Yankees, before and after the war. Too long to describe here. You should do some reading before you spout of something that you know NOTHING.

    January 18, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. 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 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  16. Bryce

    Despite what the history books say if you examine the political climate at the time the civil war was not about slavery. It was a catalyst used to start the war but the war itself was about money.

    The flag that those wearing the grey held as a battle standard can be displayed anywhere anyone want's to display it except state government buildings.

    Unless the state in question plans on attempting to bail out of the union again that is.
    Do you have any such plans SC??? Just wondering?

    January 18, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. E. Elliott, Orlando, FL

    Wave that flag. It allows others to recognize a loser. I think the same about fools with a Bush sticker STILL on thier beat up old cars. But the first bunch have had 100 years plus to forget the facts and that they were not rated much higher than slave, being the white trash the wealthy folks looked down on. Funny that still holds true. Bush senior called the working class fodder units, treated them as such and they still vote for his son & others like him. Wave the fools flag some more boys, it is your right, but please don't vote.

    January 18, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  18. chris jordon

    I hate to tell you folks from up North that hate the south-tough-we are here to stay, and by the way I have a confederate flag, also have the Stars and stripes, you know something else, they fly together without any problem--so all you dummies that don,t like it--–to bad--

    January 18, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Cee

    I am from up North and went to school in SC. SC fits all of the stereotypes of the South. I felt like I was doing time and counted down the days for my departure. It is so funny how they focus on "heritage" and not on the fact that the majority of them live in trailer parks. How you can be so focused on a flag, gays, and illegals, when your state is among the lowest in education, wages, and jobs is beyond me.

    January 18, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. Obama 2008

    I don't agree with rednecks that want to fly the flag but if they do it on their own property it's fine by me. When it's on GOVERNMENT property that's a different story.

    The flag represents slavery and fighting AGAINST America. I find it funny that people think the flag is so patriotic when actually it's quite the opposite.

    January 18, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. M. Lamb

    Of course the confederate flag stands for heritage... a heritage OF hatred. In the case of the secessionist south, the two are inseparable.

    January 18, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. JB in CA


    How do you feel about state right issues on gay marriage, medical marijuana, and abortion?


    January 18, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. Mike

    Huckabee's comment about the flag pole is what I'd expect most people to say. If any thing, that comment is just another representation of how true to human Huckabee truly is compared to the other candidates running.

    January 18, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. pam Eugene OR

    I am a democrat and I love Huckabee. He is such a complete nut case that he is fun to watch. It is amazing that anyone could agree with him on anything he says and frankly a little scary that he is still in this race. I am sure once we leave the South people will pull away from him in hordes. Till then I will enjoy watching him be an idiot.

    January 18, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  25. L in AZ

    I'd like to see how the South would react if Arizona or California were to include the Mexican flag on the state flags to celebrate the fact that they were once a part of Mexico. Proud Confederate Flag wavers need to stop being hypocrites.

    January 18, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
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