Former President Jimmy Carter stirred a media-frenzy this week when he said in an interview with NBC News that much of the most strenuous opposition to President Obama stems from the color of his skin. “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African-American,” he said.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele has since been all over the airwaves complaining, calling Carter’s comments “out of line.” And in an op-ed in Politico today, Steele argued that there is no racism whatsoever in opposition to Obama:
Proud Americans, black and white, fought for too long and too hard to have the claim of racism be used in such a cavalier fashion. Blind charges of racism, where none exist, not only are an affront to those who have suffered the effects of racism, but it weakens our efforts to address true acts of racism and makes them more difficult to overcome.
Yet this morning on CBS, host Maggie Rodriguez got Steele to admit that some right-wing opposition is racially-charged:
RODRIGUEZ: I wanted to make time to ask you about these allegations on behalf of former President Carter and others that all of this criticism towards President Obama is motivated by racism. … When we have protests like we saw in Washington last week, when we see Confederate flags and pictures of the president in white face and signs that say he needs to go back to Africa, can you afford to ignore that?
STEELE: No you don’t ignore it but you don’t paint such a broad brush with it.
Yesterday on Fox News, Steele criticized Carter and other Democrats for playing the race card. “We cannot go to a point in this country,” he said, “if every time we find ourselves in disagreement with [Obama], his sycophants and others out there are running to his side and rushing in with charges of racism.”
Yet earlier on CNN, Steele accused Democrats in Congress who represent African-American sections of the country of being racist:
STEELE: You know, I’m looking at cities around the country where black folk live. Now, you showed me the Congress with all these wonderful black Democrats and white Democrats. But I go to black neighborhoods that are run by those same Democrats. And you tell me where racism really exists.
This isn’t the first time Steele has played the race card. Hosting a radio show in May, Steele said the media didn’t vet Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign because they “fell in love with the black man running for the office.”
Apparently Steele himself has no problem playing the race card when it suits his interests.
John Aravosis has more.