Don Lemon talks to Reid Wilson and Lynn Sweet about the CD distributed by Chip Saltsman which included the Barack the Magic Negro song. The absolute tone deafness out of Saltsman is pretty astounding given that the GOP pretends that they would like to figure out how to improve race relations within their ranks and with voters and become more inclusive. This just set them back a step as noted by Wilson and Sweet. If they want be the party that embraces Rush Limbaugh and his racist "jokes" I look forward to them continuing to shrink those red spots on the electoral map until there's little or nothing left of them.
Over at MSNBC another African American news anchor, Tamron Hall, was not quite as reserved as Don Lemon on CNN with her criticism of the CD and portraying it as a "parody". She let conservative pundit Kate Obershain know just how listening to this garbage made her feel as reported by Think Progress.
Full transcript and video of Hall from Think Progress below the fold.
LEMON: OK, well, it is no laughing matter. It is a parody. It's a CD given out by Chip Saltsman. He's a Republican in the race to be the head of the GOP, and it is generating quite a controversy. Here's just a few seconds of it.
LEMON: OK. So, again, that is just a few seconds of that. That's not all. There are other duties on the CD like John Edwards' poverty tour, a Wright place, wrong pastor, W-R-I-G-H-T, and the Star Spanglish banner.
OK. Well, Chip Saltsman released a statement on TheHill.com, and here's what he says. He says "Paul Shanklin is a long-time friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies."
All right. So joining us tonight for this discussion -- Reid Wilson is a writer for TheHill.com. I could say you broke this story because you are the first one to report about it. And then Lynn Sweet for the Washington -- she is from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Washington Bureau Chief. She joins us as well.
OK, thank you both. Reid, what was the response? When you started doing this story and digging around, what did you hear from the people involved?
REID WILSON, STAFF WRITER, THEHILL.COM: Well, we heard a lot from Republican National Committee members that they were really shocked by the sort of tone deafness of this decision to send out this CD. As you mentioned, Paul Shanklin is the guy who does a lot of parody work for the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
Limbaugh has been playing this a while. He was attacked when he started playing it by a bunch of liberal groups, Media Matters of America, some other groups like that. And then Saltsman sends this CD out. They have a good relationship. As you mentioned, they have been friends for a very long time. Still, though, the notion that this would go out at a time when the Republican Party is really having trouble attracting minority voters and minority interests at all is -- it smacks of tone deafness.
LEMON: Tone deafness. There are some people who say, you know what, it's humor. It's humor. Come on, lighten up a little bit. Do you agree with that at all, Lynn Sweet?
LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Peter, Paul and Mary must be spinning around that their own song, of all people, of all groups, you know, to use their "Puff the Magic Dragon." It's tasteless parody. See, it's one thing if Rush Limbaugh wants to use it on his show. It is another thing when an official, especially one who aspires to be a Republican National Committee chairman takes it out of the Rush Limbaugh venue and puts it into a political context. So, it is -- it is not -- that is the message that he wants to send, it is impossible to think he would ever be elected RNC chairman now.
LEMON: But Lynn, I'm getting e-mails from people and notes on Facebook and Twitter saying, you know what, this was taken care of -- wasn't this taken care of during the campaign? People thought it was racist? Rush Limbaugh has been doing this for a year now. Why are you bringing it up? For the fact that your bringing it up is because people like Reid, and you guys, you uncover that someone was distributing it again.
SWEET: Well, that's what makes it different, is that it left the confines of the Rush Limbaugh show.
WILSON: That's absolutely right. It was sent out to all 168 members of the Republican National Committee. Some of whom -- at least one of whom I was told wanted it out of his house. He didn't want the CD anywhere near him, and he threw it away as fast as could. This is something that the Republican Party is really dealing with right now. They got somewhere between, you know, four and five percent of the African-American vote. You are not going to attract a lot of African-American voters in 2010 or 2012 if you're, well, engaging in this sort of, well, what could be a joke, doesn't really look like, though.
LEMON: Whatever you think of it. I mean, it wasn't real smart to send it out. Come on, let's be honest. I mean, I'm not going to call anyone a racist here, but these are grown men, and you have to suffer the consequences of whatever you do.
I mean, sending it out to members of the RNC, shouldn't -- shouldn't they know better? I mean, that's just silly.
WILSON: One thing that a lot of people brought up was that these are not -- this was not only sent out to folks who listen to the Rush Limbaugh show. Sure, there are a lot of RNC members. There are a lot of Americans who listen to the Rush Limbaugh Show. But there are also folks who are from the -- you know, from the upper west side of Manhattan, who were the Republican Party's big donors who don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, who might not find this funny. Some older folks who wouldn't find this -- the satire that it was maybe intended to be.
SWEET: Moreover, if this is a man who wants to lead the Republican Party, and to have any impact of trying to -- you know, whatever happened to the old big tent that the GOP used to have. You know, it's taunting and making fun. Again, this is -- this is the kind of stuff that -- you know, what goes on Rush Limbaugh Show is very different than what a person who wants a public -- you know, a political office has. It's also -- it wasn't smart politics, because it is going to ruin his bid to be RNC chairman. So if he couldn't even figure that out, then perhaps he did the party a favor.
LEMON: All right, Reid Wilson and Lynn Sweet, thank you both very much.
Here's the video from Think Progress. Good for Tamron for pointing out just how insulting the phrase "Magic Negro" is regardless of how the GOP wants to spin their excuses for why the song was supposed to be a joke.