July 19th, 2010
08:25 AM ET
13 years ago

Angle, Nevada Dems spar over Williams-NAACP controversy

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/13/art.angle.gi.jpg caption ="Nevada senate candidate Sharron Angle is sparring with the Nevada Democratic Party over comments made by a former Tea Party leader."] (CNN) - One day after the National Tea Party Federation expelled the Tea Party Express and its spokesman Mark Williams, the racial controversy that has ensnared the conservative grassroots movement is becoming an issue in Nevada's Senate battle.

The Federation, a three month old organization that seeks to represent the Tea Party political movement around the country, ousted Williams Sunday because of an inflammatory blog post he wrote last week about the NAACP. Williams wrote the incendiary blog post in response to an NAACP resolution that called on Tea Party leaders to crack down on racist elements in the movement.

Eager to seize on the controversy, the Nevada State Democratic Party released an email Sunday evening reminding voters that Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle stood next to Williams on stage at an event where she accepted his group's endorsement.

"Mark Williams' offensive rhetoric is deplorable, and the refusal by the Tea Party Express to denounce his radical viewpoints is shocking," said Nevada State Democratic Party communications director Phoebe Sweet, in a release. "If Sharron Angle does not immediately leave the bunker to denounce the man who stood by her as the Express endorsed her, it is tantamount to backing his disgusting writings. Like the Tea Party Express, Angle has shown a reluctance to admit when she's gone too far, but to continue to associate with a group that supports its spokesman's over-the-top, racist statements is unacceptable and extreme."

Sweet's reference to leaving "the bunker" is a jab at Angle for limiting interviews to the mainstream media.

CNN reached out to the Angle campaign for a response.

"Mrs. Angle readily condemns the use of the type of inflammatory language used on somebody's private blog just like she condemned the language used by Majority Leader Harry Reid when he referenced our President as being a 'light-skinned' African American 'with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one'," said Angle campaign spokesman Jerry Stacy, in a statement to CNN. "This type of language is not supported by the many hard-working patriots behind the growing tea party movement which labors to sustain a grassroots movement to elect candidates who will protect the Constitution, and the smokescreens coming from Harry Reid's surrogates will not lessen the passion of the tea party movement."

Stacy's "light skinned" and "no Negro dialect" comments refer to a January controversy involving the Senate majority leader. The remarks were published in the book "Game Change," by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, which cites Reid as saying in 2008 that Barack Obama could succeed as a black presidential candidate partly because of his "light-skinned" appearance and because he speaks "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one."

Reid apologized to Obama after excerpts from the book were released and Obama said he considered the matter closed.

The Tea Party Express poured approximately $500,000 into helping Angle, turning a little known former state lawmaker into the frontrunner in the battle for the GOP Senate nomination in Nevada. Angle ended up scoring a big victory in last month's primary and now is facing off against Reid, who is bidding for a fifth term in the Senate.

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Mark Williams • NAACP • Nevada • Sharron Angle • Tea Party Express • Tea Party movement
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Bob in PA

    How these idiots were able to turn a cry for lower taxes, less government and more freedom into a racist debate outlines what is wrong with our press and political system. The "Tea Party Federation" should stand up and say this is not about race it is about government. Instead they have shown that they will cave to a manufactured charge by political and media forces. Look for more of the same as we lead up to the elections.

    July 19, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. geminitwo

    I hope she wins. Now the government is saying that the National Health Care Reform is constitutional because failure to purchase health care coverage is a tax and the government can tax individuals and businesses as they see fit.

    Did Harry Reid and company even care or were they just going with the flow of the Obama hype? The electorate is responsible for who they put in office. Even if Congress won't institute term limits, the voters can. Stop voting the same people in – you think they are working for you, but they are not.

    July 19, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. Moss

    More race baiting and name calling form the Democrats – whats new and different.

    July 19, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. MK, Miramar FL

    I think this whole Tea Party movement is a bunch of racist people united by the presence of a colored President

    July 19, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Marge

    Angle will say any outrageous, agree to any outrageous actions to convince the tea bags she is the NUT SHE IT. Democrats don't have to do a thing. They should just let her go,. She has turned most of the people in Nevada off already. Since most of the polls are run by republicans who admit they contact more republicans than Democrats because republicans are more likely to vote, who believes their polls anyway.

    July 19, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  6. Ethan

    But will Angle return donations from the Tea Party Express and reject their endorsement? My guess would be no.

    July 19, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  7. Dave

    Reid is an idoit who should be removed from the senat Majority leader position. However, Sharon Angle is a bumbling idiotwho can not get out of her own way. If Nevada chooses Angle over Reid then we are done. The country is already being flushed down the toilet, elect Angle and we will be the Cesspool.

    July 19, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. hangemhi

    What kind of tea are those folks drinking?

    July 19, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. katiec

    Would imagine the intelligent voters in Nevada are embarressed and disgusted that a unqualified, irresponsible radical such as Angle was
    received the votes she did.
    If they do not speak out loud and clear at the voting booth, then they deserve this diaster.

    July 19, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Bertina

    I thought the Republicans were all about looking forward and not looking back.

    July 19, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. Greg from Durham

    I think the Democratic party needs to denounce Harry Reid for his moronic words. I can't believe the double standard here. When should we expect to see the NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus call out the racist language that Mr. Reid used back in 2008? Oh, that's right, if he's a racist Democrat, they'll brush that aside and leap to his defense. Give me a break!

    July 19, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Dano

    So if the Tea Party Express is no longer part of the National Tea Party, what are they going to do with their shiny new buses and all the money they raised? Maybe they'll start their own new movement, the WHO (We Hate Obama) party, where members can openly express their bigoted views without being constrained by the liberals in the NTP!

    July 19, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  13. Craig

    Well Angle is a candidate of the far right who must now hide from non-partisan media organizations whose objective and probing questions she cannot bear or hope to answer. She has made her bed with the far right and people of moderate and reasonable views will not buy her brand.

    Folks, light and accessibility are the best political disinfectants, the fact that Ms. Angle hides underscores why she is unfit to hold public office. The public knows this which is why Reid continues to surge to bigger and bigger poll leads. If you cannot take hard questions and defend your politics, then you have no right running for office. Americans despise cowards.

    July 19, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. La Piovra

    There is no lack of racism in this country, even among nice people. Nonetheless, that Williams screed could not have been publicly posted by anyone who remotely wished to pass for a nice person, and if Ms. Angle is defending it, not too many people will think she is a nice person, either.

    July 19, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. KMAN821

    Angle is just about the dumbest individual currently running for national office ... although, Michelle Bauchman could make it an even match when it comes to vile ignorance and stupidity ... they both have a good role model in Sarah Palin.

    July 19, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. Give me an R!

    No need to spar. Williams is an idiot (much like Reid) and a SELF-APPOINTED spokesperson. Just like Jeramiah Wright doesn't represent all in the NAACP, Williams doesn't represent anyone in the tea party movement. Move on.

    Angle is a much better than Reid.

    Note: Reid has said far more racist remarks than anyone that I know. They are just excused by the left because he's a democrat.

    July 19, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  17. Dave

    They can attempt to play the race card as much as they want.
    As long as over blown government, continuing the policies of spending that Bush started, and Obama perfected into an over blown deficit and central government taking care of all aspects it can, the issue is not race but the issue is policy. The policies of Reagan worked last time when the country had serious economic crisis, while the Obama administration's ideology preventing it from turning into such economic policy.
    Race is not the issue it is the dressing on the political/ ideology salad.

    July 19, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Eric

    Why is she still talking to the media?

    Woman, look, you are not going to get a fair shake in talking with the statist mainstream media.

    Don't grant them interviews... don't go on their shows... don't return their calls.

    In other words, stick with friendly media outlets and let the dead-tree, lamestream liberal dinosaur-media continue to whimper itself into a slow death.

    July 19, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Dixie

    I have felt all along that the GOP element of congress would have cooperated more fully on the presidents agenda had the president been white. President Obama knows it too, though he is too much the gentleman to play the race card.

    July 19, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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