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Artur Davis Accuses Democrats of Race-Baiting

Artur Davis Accuses Democrats of Race-Baiting

By Erin McPike - August 28, 2012


TAMPA -- Race politics has bubbled up in the presidential election the past few days, but a black former congressman who is brand new to the Republican Party told RCP it's his former Democratic colleagues who are guilty of race-baiting.

The renewed thread started when a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that not a single African-American respondent supported Mitt Romney’s presidential bid.

Last week, some of Romney’s critics pointed to the GOP nominee’s comment in Michigan that no one has asked to see his birth certificate as a racist remark. Some Democratic commentators have charged that Republican leaders are using race to draw out their base.

And on Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee blasted out a letter from 14 members of the Congressional Black Caucus berating former Alabama Rep. Artur Davis for changing positions and parties. Davis, who was an ardent supporter of Barack Obama’s 2008 run for president, will speak at the Republican convention tonight as a new Romney supporter.

Highly visible members of the CBC, including Missouri’s Emanuel Cleaver, Georgia’s John Lewis, South Carolina’s James Clyburn and Michigan’s John Conyers, signed the letter, which read in part: “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 letter also noted that Davis criticized voter ID laws as disenfranchising African-American voters.

The target of the letter was unfazed, telling RCP that he doesn’t worry about what the CBC says.

“These members think that if you’re a member of the CBC, you don’t have a right to support Mitt Romney. They think that if you’re a member of the CBC and you supported President Obama in the past, you don’t have a right to support Mitt Romney now,” he said.

He went on to accuse his old party of race-baiting, suggesting Democrats use that tactic when elections draw near.

Race is being deployed by the Democrats this time, he said, as “a deliberate distraction, because the Democrats can’t talk about President Obama’s failed record.”

But, he predicted, “race is not going to decide this election, just as it didn’t four years ago.” 

Erin McPike is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at emcpike@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPike.

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