President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign website has removed several videos that pitched alarmist messages to African-American voters, following reporting by The Daily Caller and the Fox News Channel.
In one video that the campaign yanked from the “African-Americans for Obama” section of its website Tuesday, actress Tatyana Ali seemed to predict that a second Obama term would bring a host of benefits to African-Americans once the president no longer had to concern himself with campaigning.
“What really excites me … is that a U.S. president has only two terms,” a laughing Ali said in the footage that the Obama campaign scrubbed from its website Tuesday. “In the second term, ‘it’s on,’ because we don’t have to worry about re-election.”
The video series, titled “Leading Women Defined,” focuses on African-American women, including Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s longtime aide and a former Chicago government official. It was produced by Black Entertainment Television and is still available on that that network’s website.
“We’re encouraging people to come out and vote to, as we say, vote like your life depended on it,” BET CEO Debra Lee said in one of the videos.
BET’s top managers are sympathetic to the Democratic Party and to Obama. Lee, for example, has donated almost $100,000 to Democratic politicians and allies’ causes since 2008.
Obama’s deputies are running an under-the-radar campaign intended to scare African-Americans to the polls, said Jeffrey Bell, a veteran GOP strategist.
His campaign advisers are confident that “he’s going to get 95 percent [of the African-American bloc], but they’re worried about turnout,” he added.
The result is that the campaign will broadcast the message—often outside the view of the established media—that “any opposition to Obama is based on race, and it is open season [on African-Americans] if he loses,” Bell said.
The BET videos include a raft of black-targeted messaging, including a reminder that Obama has delivered $1 billion dollars to historically black colleges and universities and $3 billion in contracts and loans to African-Americans entrepreneurs.
“The person of him is so jarring to certain people that it has caused people to step into the way back machine and want to be in the ‘50s,” Joy-Ann Reid, an African-American journalist and talk radio personality, said in another [video]. “I think there is a sense of panic that’s developing in part of the majority culture.”
One of the BET videos that the Obama For America website previously hosted touched on the contentious issues surrounding the Feb. 26 Trayvon Martin shooting.
“Trayvon Martin’s death sparks outrage,” Kim Keenan, the NAACP’s counsel, said in a video carried on Obama’s campaign website until Tuesday afternoon.
“These kinds of things are happening in communities all over America, but it takes something like this to finally get a camera on it, and that’s what we need to change.”