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John McCain backer dropped from Virginia campaign team due to racially tinged column

October 7, 2008 |  8:57 am

John McCain's campaign has denounced and rejected a racially charged, anti-Barack Obama newspaper column written by one of the Republican campaign's organizers in Virginia,and has removed the author-activist from his post as a member of the candidate's statewide leadership team.

The column by Bobby May appeared in a southwestern Virginia newspaper,The Voice, and drew attention after it was cited in a Sunday Los Angeles Times report about how voters in that mostly white region were reacting to potentially electing the country's first black president.

May, who in July was named his county's Republican representative on the McCain statewide campaign team, offered a spoof of Obama's platfrom and plans in his recent column.

Examples: Obama would hire the rapper Ludacris (a prominent supporter) to paint the White House black. And the....

...Democrat's administration would divert more foreign aid to Africa so "the Obama family there can skim enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream."

May also joked that Obama would replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag "with a star and crescent logo," an Islamic symbol, and that his policy on drugs would be to "raise taxes to pay for Obama's inner-city political base."

McCain spokeswoman Gail Gitcho, in a written statement announcing that May was being dropped from the campaign team, said the attempts at humor "are offensive, insulting and have no place in political discourse. Mr. May's comments in no way reflect the views or opinions held by John McCain or his campaign. The McCain campaign wholeheartedly disavows Mr. May's column."

Gitcho said the campaign first learned of May's column from the author himself after he had been contacted by The Times. In interviews with the paper, May defended his column as a tongue-in-cheek parody of Obama's views and insisted it was not racist.

The McCain campaign did not see it that way.

"The moment the campaign learned of Mr. May's comments, we immediately removed him from his campaign position," Gitcho said. "Mr. May is no longer a part of our campaign organization."

Gitcho added: "Race should never ever, ever play a role in American politics."

-- Peter Wallsten

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