From NBC's Mark Murray
RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the Republican Party's most prominent African American official, has issued a press release criticizing former President Jimmy Carter for arguing that much of the opposition that President Obama is facing is due to race.
"President Carter is flat out wrong. This isn't about race. It is about policy. This is a pathetic distraction by Democrats to shift attention away from the president's wildly unpopular government-run health care plan that the American people simply oppose. Injecting race into the debate over critical issues facing American families doesn't create jobs, reform our health care system or reduce the growing deficit. It only divides Americans rather than uniting us to find solutions to challenges facing our nation.
Characterizing Americans' disapproval of President Obama's policies as being based on race is an outrage and a troubling sign about the lengths Democrats will go to disparage all who disagree with them. Playing the race card shows that Democrats are willing to deal from the bottom of the deck. Our political system has no place for this type of rhetoric. As the leader of the Democratic Party President Obama should flatly reject efforts by those in his Party, including Jimmy Carter and Tim Kaine, to inject race into our civil discourse in ways that divide, not unite, Americans."
When First Read asked the RNC how DNC Chairman Tim Kaine was injecting race into the discussion, it provided as evidence this Politico clipping, which explicitly says that Kaine DIDN'T bring up race.
"Virginia Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine used a speech Friday to single out those conservative critics whose hostility toward President Obama goes deeper than just opposing his policies — but without mentioning that which many in his party believe drives the anger. 'Republican leaders…rose up to say that he did not deserve honorary degrees from colleges that were giving him degrees last spring, members of Congress, Republican members of Congress, are spreading bogus rumors about where the president was born, and they whipped up opposition all across this country when President Obama wanted to give a speech to our nation's schoolchildren to tell them to take responsibility, study hard and stay in school," Kaine said here at the party's fall meeting.'"
"He demurred when asked later whether this often-personal criticism is rooted in contempt for a president who happens to be black."