An ultra-conservative ‘Tea Party’ group has defended its depiction of President Barack Obama as a skunk as satirical–after it was accused of being racist.
The Kansas-based Patriot Freedom Alliance came under fire for posting a photo of a skunk on its website.
The caption above it read: ‘The skunk has replaced the eagle as the new symbol for the president. It is half black, it is half white, and almost everything it does, stinks.’
Area president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) Darrell Pope called the depiction a ‘blatant statement of racism’.
He said: ‘As far as I’m concerned it’s proof of the kind of organisation that they are, which I felt it always had racial overtones in the first place.
‘You would think that an organisation that claims to be about patriotism and what this country is supposed to stand for would have a better way of expressing it than what they’re doing.’
Thomas Hymer, who maintains the website, defended the post which has now been taken down by saying: ‘It’s satire is what it is. Satire in a politically incorrect form.’
And local tea party supporter Chuck Sankey said former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin had been the target of worse insults.
He told the Hutchinson News: ‘It just makes a point that we’re in trouble and what’s happening doesn’t smell right. That’s what it means to me.’
Asked about the note to half-black, half-white, seen as a reference to Obama’s dual heritage of having a black father and white mother, he said: ‘Isn’t that the truth? ‘What’s wrong with the truth?’
The Patriot Freedom Alliance meets regularly and has hosted rallies in the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
The race row came as Obama said he ‘always believed fixing the economy was a long-term project’ during a wide-ranging interview on last night’s 60 Minutes show on CBS.
He acknowledged it would take more than one term in office for his administration to achieve what it set out in his hope-and-change campaign in 2008.
He also blamed ‘Republican intransigence’ for stymieing his efforts to enact policies to improve the economy.
He said he knew that ‘reversing a culture here in Washington dominated by special interests would take more than year, more than two years, more than one term, probably take more than one president.’
But he vowed not to bow out after a single term and added: ‘One thing I pride myself on before becoming president and that has continued as president: I’m a persistent son of a gun. I stay at it. I keep staying at it.’
Speaking about his potential 2012 opponents, he said former House speaker Newt Gingrich was ‘good on TV and good in debates’.
He also said former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was ‘good at politics’. But he asked voters to judge him against the alternative, and not against the ideal.
He added: ‘I’m being judged against the ideal . . . don’t judge me against the Almighty, judge me against the alternative.’