July 19th, 2010
08:25 AM ET
12 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. Blaum

    "Eager to seize on the controversy, the Nevada State Democratic Party released an email Sunday "

    just like clockwork..... The Dems are too easy to predict....

    July 19, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  2. Ken in NC

    This is so funny. Like a bunch of people in a car lost and at an intersection and not knowing which way to turn. The occupants are all grown but not grown enough to realize they need to ask for or accept advice. So they just sit there and argue while the world drives around them. What a waste.

    July 19, 2010 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  3. ramtruck2500

    man this women is just a class act all the way around. What a creep!

    July 19, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  4. Pragmatic

    Remember, the GOP has stated that they plan to stay on the offensive for the November midterm elections and steer clear of taking stands on substance that might give Democratic opponents material for a counterattack.

    The GOP believes that public anger, if properly stoked, alone can carry the party over the finish line. In their view, getting bogged down in the issues is a distraction and even a potential liability.

    Read Sharron Angles "old" website to find out the truth about this candidate ... then compare it with her "new" reinvention of herself ... she's asking you "do you believe what you see or what I tell you?"

    July 19, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  5. SAY WHAT...

    Why would she denounce this guy when he said exactly what she believes in. And why does she not give interviews to major news outlets. We want to know how dumb she is so that we can say, "hey wait a second she is too dumb to be in any public office."

    July 19, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Renee

    Debate time for Sharon Angle and Harry Reid. Leader Reid,we will see you in 2010!

    July 19, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. mike

    I wonder what angle is she going to take in this issue with williams I
    see this is a problem in the tea party that is not going to go away for
    the simple fact that most of them are racist and they are going to spilt

    July 19, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  8. Ed L

    Angle is too dumb to even understand the issue of racism.....

    July 19, 2010 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  9. Dan, TX

    Once Angle and her ilk gain power, the un-American among us should be prosecuted.

    July 19, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. Peace

    Can the so called "Tea Party" dissolve in water and disappear in political radar? It doesn't do any good to anyone. Just only infuriating tensions among people!

    July 19, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Bubba

    Where did they dig Angle up? I expected Reid to face a tough challenge from the GOP this year; instead his opponent seems to be an insane clown. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

    July 19, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Squigman

    To be thought of as a leader, and nuttier than a squirrels hideout, speaks volumns about the political environment in the nation. WAKE-UP America.

    July 19, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  13. Brian Orlando

    She should return the money she received from the Tea Party Express..... if she is truthfully against what they said she doesn't need their money!

    July 19, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. Discernment


    The National Tea Party has brought forth some good issues to debate. All they need to do is stay on message.

    But when Mark Williams post racist garbage on the Internet, especially when it is under the name of the "Tea Party Express", than all Mark does is soil the name of the Party and throw the movement off track.

    Mark Williams must go!

    July 19, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  15. Big George in Big D

    The NAACP is good at stirring the pot but cannot take the heat when someone responds in a manner they don't like. They shouldn't have denounced the TEA Party to begin with. There are many black that are in the TEA party and you don't hear them whining.

    July 19, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. Sharron

    Not only does the Tea Party need to disown this Radical Bigot (Williams) but the whole of the Republican Party that has catered to the Tea Party needs to speak out against this idiot along with Angle who stood next to him along with Palin (the Tea Party Express was their in Arizona throwing their support for McCain and Palin has spoke at some of the Tea Party Express Rallies, so if these people do not speak up against this man then you can very well bet that they all believe the same way this man Williams believes......they are hiding their true feeling about how Rasicts they all are......

    July 19, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  17. rdepontb


    You'rre getting what you deserrve forr having used all of those disturrbing, rridiculously wild statements durring the prrimary campaign. Hope the parrty has seen it's errrrorr!

    July 19, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Patrick

    I don't happen to agree with the 'failure to denounce' rhetoric that every politician seems to run up against from both sides of the aisle. I do find it amusing to see Republicans, who are eager for Tea Party votes, finding it difficult to denounce an obvious racist though.

    July 19, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. Whatever

    Why has Palin been so quietly lately!!! She was the one at all the Tea Party Express rallies. Hearing crickets now... Come on Palin I know you are still in shock about your daughter's engagement but now is the time for you to release some type of statement too. Forever linked to the Express – – you betcha – – 2012 HA!

    July 19, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Lets expose Rush Limbaughs staff.

    Our Parrot is smarter than this moron.She gives women everywhere a bad name.Maybe thats the way republicans like it.

    July 19, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. Laurie

    She is a total crackpot.

    July 19, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  22. David

    Its interesting to note that now one is saying that what Williams has said or wrote is incorrect, only that he should not have said it. Another case of political correctness trumping the truth.

    July 19, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. Reid apologized to the President for his poorly chosen words. I am here to tell you, though, as a person of color, that I hear the same type of comments from Caucasians who I KNOW MEAN ABSOLUTELY NO HARM but refer to myself and other 'educated' people of color – African Americans, or black Dominicans like myself – in the same way. It is almost as if they didn't expect us to speak distinctly and without the jargon and colloquialisms. And if we're 'light-skinned' they see that as a plus to us getting ahead. It is pitiful, but in many parts of the country, especially Washington DC, it is true.

    However, for Angle to take this opportunity to bring up this closed and personal issue between Reid and the President, is quite frankly, politically speaking nothing short of brilliant.......in a snarky, slimy type of way!

    July 19, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Sun52shine

    It is not just Williams that believes his statements about the NAACP; it is the full extreme conservative right wingers. Williams put into writing what these people believe and practice. These do not just practice this believe in the political arena but also in the business world. This is one reason the unemployment rate is high among African Americans, Latinos and Hispanic males.

    This makes for the clear argument that affirmative action is needed and necessary if America is to extend equality.

    July 19, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. George

    She's a loon running with the backing of more loons. Don't make this mistake Nevada.

    July 19, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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