Black Republicans Demand Obama 'Bus' Apology
By: David A. Patten
Black Republican leaders are demanding that President Barack Obama apologize for what they consider a racially insensitive remark that he made on the campaign trail this weekend. During a campaign swing the president said, "We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for a ride, but they gotta sit in back."
Dr. Timothy F. Johnson, the black Republican who heads the National Black Republican Association, told Newsmax in an e-mail Wednesday that Obama should immediately apologize for the offensive reference to the Jim Crow era.
"Once again the president is perpetuating the racism that exists, and [is] portrayed by the so-called Civil Rights organizations and their leaders," Johnson stated. "Americans are sick and tired of these divisive statements the president continues to make," he added. "Our first objective is November 2, 2010. "Next is to find the next president of the United States, and retire President Obama to Chicago, Hawaii, or Kenya in Nov. 2012," stated Johnson.
Johnson is not alone in finding the president's "sit in back" remark offensive. What if a Republican president had made such a remark? asked Fox News contributor Monica Crowley. She said it would have triggered an uproar from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. "I think after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, riding in the back certainly does have some Civil Rights and racial overtones to it, and you can't tell me the president of the United States wasn't aware of it when he said it," Crowley said Wednesday on Fox News. "I found his comment there appalling [and] I found his refusal to address it in a straightforward way also appalling."
The "sit in back" remark is part of a pattern of increasingly divisive rhetoric from the president in the run up to the midterm elections, Crowley said. In one recent example, on Monday President Obama urged Latinos to "punish our enemies" during a Univision broadcast. “If Latinos sit out the election," Obama said, "instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder . . . "
Crowley added: "This is nothing new. Ever since this man became president nearly two years ago now, he has constantly used this kind of incredibly divisive rhetoric. He seems to forget that he's no longer campaigning. "He's the president of the United States. The president is supposed to be the president of all the people, even those who disagree with his agenda and who disagree with him," Crowley said.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs did not shy away from the controversial "sit in back" statement when asked about it in a press briefing. He portrayed it as part of the ongoing metaphor that the president has used to assert Republicans drove the economy into a ditch. “The president said this weekend that the Republicans are going to ride in the back and the middle class will be in the passenger’s seat,” Gibbs said.
In a none-too-subtle jab he added: “We’re certainly concerned with backseat driving.”