Don Dahler, CBS, September 9, 2008
On Monday, Gov. David Paterson [of New York] angered some state lawmakers by comparing them to vampires, calling them a bunch of “blood suckers.” On Tuesday, he raised eyebrows again, and tempers, by accusing the John McCain campaign of veiled racism.
At the Crain’s Business Forum this morning, Paterson drew attention to a phrase used numerous times by speakers at the Republican National Convention to describe Barack Obama’s leadership experience: community organizer.
“I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama ‘black’ in a sense that it would be a negative. But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did at the Republican Convention—a ‘community organizer.’ They kept saying it, they kept laughing,” he said.
Paterson sees the repeated use of the words “community organizer” as Republican code for “black”.
“I think where there are overtones is when there are uses of language that are designed to inhibit other people’s progress with a subtle reference to their race,” he said.
But the McCain/Palin campaign quickly fired back in a statement, saying: “It is disappointing that Governor Paterson would launch accusations of racism. . . . Governor Palin’s remarks about Barack Obama’s work as a community organizer was in response to the Obama campaign’s belittling of her executive experience.”