posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 11:33 PM
McCain Campaign Fumes Over Paterson's Racism Claim
N.Y. Governor Says Palin's Repeated Use Of 'Community Organizer' Is Another Way Of Saying 'Black'
ALBANY (CBS) ― On Monday, Gov. David Paterson 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 referred to McCain's running mate Sarah Palin who compared her work experience to Obama's.
"So I suppose a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except with real responsibilities," she said at the convention.
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
The statement goes on to point out Sarah Palin's own experience of civic involvement and says Paterson's comments are "a sure sign of a flailing
campaign that is bordering on desperation".
Paterson raises the question of whether the Presidential race has become desperate or devious.
"At this point, Americans wouldn't tolerate a racial appeal. What I'm saying is that there are sneaky ways to try to hurt someone," he said.
Paterson does say he's not certain that's happening.
But what disturbed him was what seemed like derisive laughter on the part of the Republicans at Obama's choice of helping his community rather than
getting rich on Wall Street.
Paterson is New York state's first black governor.