Rep. John Lewis accuses McCain of racist attacks

Georgia Rep. John Lewis accused the McCain campaign of stoking racial fires and fanning the racial hatred from supporters at McCain/Palin rallies around the country. The basis for Lewis’ remarks seem to be the discussion Obama’s ties to William Aryes and Gov. Sarah Palin’s claim that Obama was “palling around with terrorists” in Chicago.

Report from Fox News:

Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights-era icon , invoked segregationist Gov. George Wallace of Alabama in accusing John McCain and Sarah Palin of fanning the flames of hatred at Republican campaign events.

“What I am seeing reminds me of too much of another destructive period in American history,” Lewis said in a statement released to FOX News. “Senator McCain and Governor Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.”

“George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights,” Lewis added. “Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.”

He then accused McCain and Palin of “playing with fire” in a way that “disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy.”

McCain immediately responded, calling on Obama to denounce Lewis’ statement.

“Congressman John Lewis’ comments represent a character attack against Governor Sarah Palin and me that is shocking and beyond the pale,” McCain said in a written statement. “The notion that legitimate criticism of Senator Obama’s record and positions could be compared to Governor George Wallace, his segregationist policies and the violence he provoked is unacceptable and has no place in this campaign.”

Obama’s campaign has responded and has somewhat condemned Lewis’ comparisons, via First Read:

“Senator Obama does not believe that John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.

But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night, as well as the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own running mate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States ‘pals around with terrorists.’

As Barack Obama has said himself, the last thing we need from either party is the kind of angry, divisive rhetoric that tears us apart at a time of crisis when we desperately need to come together.

That is the kind of campaign Senator Obama will continue to run in the weeks ahead,” said Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton.

Take from it what you will, this campaign is going to all over the place in the next few weeks and I expect accusations from both sides to be reaching, at best.

  • Frank H

    I am pleased that Sen McCain has sought to change the negative mood that his campaign was at risk of creating. The intemperate language of his running mate requires reigning in as otherwise long-lasting damage to the GOP’s reputation may arise.

  • Dale

    I really don’t think McCain wants to be doing this, but I think unfortunately he is. In all honesty we all know what party racists support, I don’t think it’s fair to blame that on McCain. I think he’s doing what he feels he needs to do to energise his base, unfortunately the things that energise his base are not necessarily nice things all the time.

    This is a video of a woman who called Obama and Arab at his rally on 10 Oct. To McCain’s credit he told her she was wrong, I felt quite sorry for him seeing his response, you could tell he was ashamed. Unfortunate McCain supporter. I really think McCain deserves better supporters than this.

    What was more disturbing was when he was booed for saying Barack Obama was a decent man, Republicans should be a little ashamed of that. I really think it’s sad to see people energised by anger, fear and hatred, especially when it’s the last thing America needs right now.

  • Dale i agree

    other people will defend everything which led to this though.

    McCain spokesperson had now gone back to Obama is hanging with Terrorists again

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWcYrsdJfFk

    They will not denounce those words or the rhetoric which caused this to happen in the first place.

  • Lincoln

    I think we are seeing complete and without restraint discrimination by Lewis against McCain-Palin. Lewis’ statement is obviously racist. He is trying to be racist.

    We are seeing almost all the media press support Obama. You cannot turn on the TV or radio without hearing how great Obama is today and how unfortunate McCain-Palin is. Even on FoxNews
    last night there was a panel of four individuals….and neither
    suppported McCain. The fact is while we have leftist news coverage there is no right-side news coverage.

    What we are seeing after decades of the black man being discriminated against is now we have a black man who can do no wrong. If anyone suggests that Obama has done anything wrong, he is accused of being a racist. When will America get it right: skin color does not define a man.

    God help us if Obama-Acorn-Wright-Ayers-Rezko-Lewis-Raines-Dobbs-Frank-etc. get into the White House. Obama’s good words will all be forgotten. Let the corruption begin or continue like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

  • Bill Hedges

    Obama just barely knew Aye, said something to that effect. In the past, Obama for 5 yars years had distribited a private grant, that Ayers received from a private group. It was for education. But not your normal type of education. But Ayers type. Obama talks of his clean hands, but I recall his ads of McCain old age and McCains Keating 5 problems. I have seen signs that racist card was coming. It is sad to see it. It is mild though from what I remember it use to be many years ago….. Something has cropped up that may wipe this off the map. If found to be true. Obama in Iraq, and a discussion he had with a government official. Time will tell where that story goes.

  • Dale

    Dreadsen that video you posted was incredible. Fools like that are dragging McCain down. He’s looking more and more like a typical Republican and less and less of a maverick every day.

    Lincoln I don’t think you make much of a point about accusing Lewis of being racist. That reverse racism argument is weak. For the most part the because of the attacks you listed; Acorn, Ayers etc. Obama’s hardly being given a free ride.

    Watch that video I posted, people are being incited, probably including you. God help the world if that guy is Dreasden’s video ever gets any power.

  • shadybug

    Shame on Rep. John Lewis !
    If anyone is racist in this race, or a racist person it’s Obama, and his wife. Be honest Rep.it started with the Reverend Wright, and Obama has been using his campaign to suggest that the reason he’s not ahead by a lot is because he’s black. That’s disgusting, it’s because he’s acting like he’s an innocent mnd politically clean. Well evryone who beleives this better open their eyes before they vote for him. Btween Obama being a racist against the Jewish, whites, and Americans, now we are finding out more about this Acorn group, and we’ve already heard about Obama’s lies to Canada regarding the free trade agreement. We do need change in our Goverment, but voting for obama would be like voting in a skin head, or the KKK. I was thinking about voting for Obama until the Reverend Wright story, the Canadian story, not knowing his accomplishments, infact not knowing anything about him excepet he’s a Senator who doesn’t do a lot of voting. So as I’ve stated before, I’ve been a democrat for over 30 years, and I will not be voting for a democrat for the first time. Unless everyone protest, and writes in Hillary’s name foer President. For all the young voters, new voters, stand up for the truth, and research Obama, and what he’s really all about. For the African American voters, don’t vote for Obama just because he’s an African American, that makes you a racist, and there will be another African American that will deserve to be our President, such as Colin Powell, but Obama isn’t the one.

  • IndiMinded

    Could you clarify, in what way is a vote for Obama like a vote for the KKK? I’m not sure I understand you

  • Dale

    “Btween Obama being a racist against the Jewish, whites, and Americans”

    Nice! Please tell me more, I’ve been looking for some more info about this. I need more information about Obama hating America. Did you know he even hates flag pins!

  • EricF

    Bill Hedges, thats just he problem. nobody can pin down anything obama says because he keeps changing his mind.

  • Bill Hedges

    Eric F- There is rumors about Obama’s College days. Unfortunately We may never know for sure because Obama will not allow the records to be released. So not much can be said about that. On Ruah L. site is article about Obama. About his visit to Iraq. Whole story, with proof, has not happened yet.. Hopefully, if true, it will come out.

  • Babs

    Rep. Lewis is from my state – for now. I knew sooner or later one of these idiots would probably bring up George Wallace. Don’t even get me started. Suffice it to say, if idiots like Lewis thought Obama had the support he needs to win, there would be no need to play the racIST card that Lewis has played. They are trying to set the stage for a possible loss. The theme will be the same thing we’ve heard for over a year. If Obama loses, it will be because he’s black. And that will set America back 60 years on race relations.

    Needless to say, my next volunteer experience will be for Lewis’s opponent. We don’t need racists like him in our state, or our country. He’s worse than George Wallace ever thought about being.

  • Stalin

    Voting for Obama because he’s black is no more racist than voting against him because he’s black. Nearly 95% of blacks are voting for Obama…hmmm do they all really agree with his policies or are they so wanting a black man in the Oval Office that they just don’t care. When is the last time 95% of whites agreed on anything?

  • Babs

    I’ve been making that point for almost a year now, Stalin, but no one listens. Remember when I told you I had two McCain yard signs out? And that I have lived in a 80% black county for 24 years and have been well liked? Well, guess what. They don’t like me so much anymore. I get polite hello’s if I speak first, nothing if I don’t. Guess who the racists are.

  • IndiMinded

    The last time 95% of whites agreed on something was last election, when they all voted for white candidates. And every election before that, I believe. At some point, Stalin, America will have to own up to the clear and shameful discriminatory hiring practices we have always maintained in our nation’s highest offices.

    Being of african descent does not, by any means, make a person more qualified to run this country. But electing such a man does send a strong message both to our own country and to the world (and perhaps you’re aware, people with darker skin tones are commonly discriminated against in many parts of the globe).

    I don’t think it’s racist to want to send the message that America is no longer merely a diverse nation ruled over by white males. A 44th white male for president, whatever his qualifications may be, is exactly what was expected. That is the side the coin has landed on in every primary and presidential election in our nation’s proud, long history. My desire to send this message stems from the pride I have in this country and what it stands for.

    You go ahead and compare that to the ideology of David Duke if you want. I think it’s been a rigged game for much too long.

    That being said, I wouldn’t vote for Obama if I didn’t think he was the better candidate.

  • When you tap an idiot to be your VP then you run the risk of that VP nominee making idiot statements and unfortunately idiots believing it.

    McCain on the whole seems a good guy and I was pleased to see him stand up for Obama.

  • Bill Hedges

    Rep Lewis has come out saying he was mis-understood.. Backing down on his statements.

  • You know, for a bunch of comments in which people are called “racist,” not one of them seems to be using the term correctly. Can anyone of you who has called Lewis a racist care to explain this?

  • Dale

    Michael it looks like (as usual) the constant discussion of a few words has stretched the meaning perhaps a tad further than they may have been intended. Lewis’s point was about hatred and division, not necessarily about race.

  • I agree Dale. The context that Lewis was speaking about, of course, was racism– and structural violence, but his point was about hatred and division.

  • Babs

    George Wallace was labeled a “segregationist”. Guess “segregationist” is a fancy word for.

  • Babs, Lewis was not comparing the policies of Wallace to Palin/McCain. He was comparing their methods of inciting hatred. People are tagging on the outer comparatives, Lewis did not do this.

  • Bill Hedges

    Nichael- Use of examples must done with great care. As seen in these comments. George Wallace was a bad choice. Example of him can be taken in many bad and good ways. Depending on which stage of his life you discuss. In the end of his life he had changed his ways. Earlier he was a bad man. With Lewis, he should have clearly stated his point and left Wallace out of it.

  • Bill Hedges

    Michael–Human nature is basically the same through-out the world. We all live in distubing times with our flnancial woes. I have watched mobs in other Countries recently. Anger, etc. America has not got to that point. What I see at McCain’s ralley is flustration. Bo police necessary. Not racism or any of those tained words. Just as mobs in other parts of the world now. I lived through the end times of the worst times in Americam . As I have seen the same in other parts of the world…… That was not the mood at McCain’s group that night. A few spoke out of line. As will happen at time. It ended without getting out of hand. I see politics being used to spread this for persoal gain. You can see our Democrat Congress use our money to help elect Democrats into office. Example,, governmen money has been given to ACORE,under INVESTIGATION,, leftist vote registslation organization that backs Obama for Presidet. Acorn also contribted to our sub-prime Home finavial mess.

  • Bill, unfortunately it’s a small number with a mob mentality at McCain and Palins rallies that are getting heard. McCain now I think regrets ever entertaining them at the start, which is why he said what he did in defence of Obama. Palin however still spouts her nonsense stoking up the crowds into a fit of rage against Obama. This isn’t good for America or bringing Americans together, which is something McCain has said he can and will do.

    How can McCain bring America together and reach across party lines when he has a running mate who’s doing completely the opposite?

  • Bill Hedges

    RZPUDDINGI- I hold no MOB MENTALLY existed here. By their actions, no uncontoled events occured. Yes, THEY had many unhappy. I am unhappy. A few said things that was not acceptable. My example in preevious comment was mob in Europe that protested banks. Protesting in the streets. With police nessary. That was MOB MENTALITY. This mentality lad to cars being over turned, etc. No such uncontroled events happened here. A few words , yes

  • I think you’re talking about the type of mobs who smash up shops and stuff whenever there’s a WTO meeting or whatever happening, just because they don’t like capitalism, those people are complete morons.

    The far left code-pink group is a mob and they’re a bunch of morons if ever there was one.

  • Bill Hedges

    Nzpudding –Mob Mentality- act togethter with-out planned acivity This is difinition I found. A few with remarks does not fit definition…..Would appreciate not using ,,,moron or other such words. I ignore and not responding to the Sarah stuff. Trying to get along in a civil manner.