Congressional Black Caucus blasts Artur Davis over party switch
August 28th, 2012
09:24 AM ET
10 years ago

Congressional Black Caucus blasts Artur Davis over party switch

(CNN) - Members of the Congressional Black Caucus disparaged former Rep. Artur Davis Tuesday, blasting the former Obama supporter for endorsing Mitt Romney this cycle.

Davis switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican this year, two years after he failed to capture the Democratic nomination in his bid for the Alabama governorship.

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He's been in the headlines recently as a top surrogate for the Romney campaign, attributing his switch to the GOP to what he calls President Barack Obama's transition to the far left.

Fourteen members of the caucus, however, strongly took issue with Davis' decision and described his party move as a political ploy.

"Given the magnitude of your recent transformation, we can only conclude that, rather than a true conversion, your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation or simmering anguish after failing to secure the Democratic nomination for governor of the State of Alabama in 2010," the members wrote in a letter addressed to Davis.

The letter comes the same day as Davis, a former member of the caucus himself, is scheduled to speak in a primetime hour of 9 p.m. ET at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

His high-profile speech draws a sharp contrast to his convention role four years ago, when he seconded Obama's nomination at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. At the time, he served as a co-chairman on Obama's presidential campaign.

Davis said he had hoped Obama's presidency would make a huge dent in race relations, as well as move the Democratic Party further to the center. Speaking on CNN two weeks ago, Davis also pointed to Vice President Joe Biden's controversial comments–in which he told a Virginia crowd that Romney's regulatory policies would "put y'all back in chains"–as an example of why Davis is disappointed in the current administration.

"It ought to embarrass President Obama," Davis said. "President Obama has talked so movingly about our country moving beyond race, and his own vice president makes this kind of comment yesterday? It was wrong and the president ought to be embarrassed by it, and the president ought to say it was wrong."

The 14 caucus members also referenced the former congressman's previous statements of support for Obama and Democratic views on big issues, including Wall Street reform, the stimulus bill, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
"We regret that you have chosen this course, but are confident that the American people see your pronouncements for what they are and come to the same disappointing conclusion of your former colleagues," the letter stated.

The letter was signed by the following members of Congress:

Chairman Emmanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Rep. Corrine Brown (FL-03)
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Rep Donna Christensen (VI-AL)
Rep. James E. Clyburn (SC-06)
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-14)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-04)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11)
Rep. Barbara J. Lee (CA-09)
Rep. John Lewis (GA-05)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (NY-06)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (AL-07)
Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS-02)

soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Tony Z

    Who really takes him serious? It is easy to see his motivation. Kissing up to Obama will be hard after he wins re-election.

    August 28, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Kelvin

    The letter submitted by the CBC "is disappointing." I'm not a democrat or a republican but a citizen that has the freedom to vote according to my conscious. I'm sure that the CBC is an asset to the political system but please do not get it twisted; you do not have inclusive power to represent "everyone" in our race. My hope is that Rep Davis will still be able to accomplish good works even though he is not apart of the CBC or the Democrat Party. I wish him and his family well~

    August 28, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. WiredweirdinSF

    Apparently, if you are black, you are not allowed to think for yourself according to the CBC and must of course be demeaned, diminished and discriminated against. Of course democrat liberals think the same way about women. Kind of the new plantation, huh?

    August 28, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. true blue

    Show me the MONEY...... I will tell you everything just Show me the MONEY. However you got your money mitt I want in. If i can get mind screw the country. I worked Hard my life to fight ya'll so I give, SHOW ME THE MONEY.

    August 28, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Heythere

    Obama changes his stance on gay marriage and it's viewed by the left as progression. Davis changes his views and it's deemed political just becasue it's different from their views?

    August 28, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. michael

    Wow, another flip-flopper, only this time he's a dem ( or used to be dem).

    August 28, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Nick

    Black Caucus, we the voters can only conclude from your attack that "your actions are the result of a nakedly personal and political calculation". In other words, if a person doesn't toe your party line s/he mustn't be capable of independent thought and decisions. Which is exactly why no one takes you seriously – group think has been seen for what it is, the last refuge of the incompetent.

    August 28, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Woman In California

    Leave Davis alone. The party is much better off without the weakness and vulnerability of this weasel. When the republicans get through using him (and they will – ask see Michael Steele's chairmanship), he'll regret the error of his ways FOREVER and beg to return to the more disciplined party of the democrats.

    August 28, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Ellen

    Wow, I guess the skin color of our representatives is supposed to trump the complete disappointment in Obama's first term? That Davis should put race and party before country? Shouldn't our elected officials be commended for thinking for their constituents and the country rather than down partisan lines?

    There are a lot of Democrats who have been disappointed in Obama. Most of them still aren't switching to Romney, but many may consider a third party or simply not voting. It would be sad for ANYONE of ANY party to vote for Obama or Romney because they're the lesser of the other evil. That's still a vote for someone you don't want.

    August 28, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. California Gary

    He found it tough to be a Democrat in Alabama........lucky for him that it turns out he is actually a Republican. Imagine his surprise when he suddenly realized that he actually believes exactly the opposite of what he believed in his entire adult life up till now. Can't help but wonder who he is on the phone with in the photo.......negotiating his "speaking fee" with the RNC perhaps?

    August 28, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. ghostriter

    At least he left on his own. If you don't agree lockstep with republicans, they will kick him out. Ask Collin Powell.....

    August 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  12. Bolaji09

    All the best, Arturo Davis; after all, it's a free country. Enjoy your new company – as good as any other place in the search for post-racial America.

    August 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. ghostriter

    "Kind of the new plantation, huh?"

    So.......Davis was upset because Biden used similar language. You have yourself. Davis will not like your comment. Means you are as bad as Biden. But don't be too upset. Your colleagues have said worse, so Davis might overlook your transgressions as well.

    August 28, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. SlowGun

    It makes sense that he joins up with Romney.
    He is flip flopping his position for political gain...Like Newt said..."That's what Mitt is all about"

    August 28, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. California Gary

    heythere and nick.......just wondering what your comments looked like when everyone's favorite long time senator from Pennsylvania suddenly became a Democrat when the "Republican" thing stopped working for him? That was a blatant political calculation and was done for purely self preservation reasons.........same as what we are seeing right now from this guy. Get real........

    August 28, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Alabama Resident

    The Black Caucus has stated my initial perceptions of A. Davis' move so succintly. The president's positions have not changed from his initial run for president in 2008. Artur has changed. He fail to include blacks in his platform when he ran for governor of Alabama. He felt he could win without the black vote. In Alabama even with the black vote, a black man for governor, come on, be for real! As a result, he's experiencing "sour grapes", left the state and "turned coat". People who are honest within themselves, see Artur's change for what it is.

    August 28, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. MikeInCarolina

    When is the GOP going to learn ? It'll take much more than elevating 2 or 3 token blacks in their ranks to overcome their historic opposition to all things related to the aspirations of minorities and general and blacks in particular. They can't wait to show case this guy because he's the newest black convert. Very desparate !

    August 28, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. California Gary

    Those of you citing Crist in defense of your position on this.......there is no doubt he made his move for purely political reasons as well. Do you really think this latest gentleman suddenly came to "see the light" and changed parties due to his "true" beliefs? Give me a break........

    August 28, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    need a RECALL on Rep. Artur Davis by the Democrat because Davis switched party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. The people elected davis as a Democrat.
    There's no one to recall... what part of FORMER congressman didn't you understand? Curious, though... did you call for a recall of Arlen Sphincter when he swithched parties, or is it OK if you switch TO a democrat and bad if you switch from a democrat?

    August 28, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. julie

    come on now who REALLY cares....................good riddence I say.....he is in good company with his kind..........he has Alan west, michael steele, clearence thomas............Blacks havae a name for his/that kind, though I forget what it is

    OMITT MITT 2012

    August 28, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Tree

    All game. Who cares if he thinks that he will win as a REP in the SOUTH he is wrong. He will learn the hard way, back home with out a JOB......

    August 28, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. zaggs

    Thats why the whole "Party of Tolerance" is complete BS. Democrats are only tolerant if you talk right, walk right, and act right. With republicans they may not approve of your lifestyle, but they're happy to hire you.

    August 28, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  23. Tanisha

    This is a free country and he can do whetever he feels is the right move. I command Artur Davis for his courage to change parties. I am a Democrat and sometimes I wish I can also change parties since the Democrats are mean spirited towards people who have different political views. Women Democratic groups are most interested in the White women;s agenda and do not care for the women of color.

    August 28, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  24. Ohio Guy

    Guess he got tired of working in the fields, and asked Massa if he could have a house job.

    August 28, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    WiredweirdinSF wrote:

    Apparently, if you are black, you are not allowed to think for yourself according to the CBC and must of course be demeaned, diminished and discriminated against. Of course democrat liberals think the same way about women. Kind of the new plantation, huh?
    Do you ever think about what you rant before you write it?

    Demeaned? Davis threw the first punch at Pres. Obama. Probably blames Obama for his loss in the governer's race.
    Diminished? See above. Again, Davis threw the first punch.
    Discriminated against? Republicans will kick Davis to the curb on Nov. 7 as a turncoat. Davis just hasn't figured it out yet.

    August 28, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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