California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring has denounced the two racially insensitive materials produced by Republican groups in Sacramento and San Bernardino County this week, calling the anti-Barack Obama imagery "nothing but divisiveness and hostility."
On Wednesday, The Bee reported the Sacramento Republican Party's Web site linked Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden and encouraged people to "Waterboard Barack Obama."
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported today a newsletter from a local GOP women's group depicted Obama "surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken."
"The California Republican Party vigorously opposes any material of his kind," Nehring said.
Capitol Alert has reported more on the materials here.
Check out Nehring's full statement on the flip.
In the last few days I've seen some material produced by a few people in our party that is completely unacceptable. This includes content on the website of the Sacramento County Central Committee, and a Republican women's club in San Bernardino County.
We have a responsibility to wage a campaign that is focused on the real issues and qualifications of the candidates. Any material that invokes issues related to race is absolutely unacceptable, tarnishes our party, diminishes the hard work of the tens of thousands of volunteers who are working hard every day for our candidates, and must be condemned. This material I've seen inspires nothing but divisiveness and hostility and has absolutely no place in this election, or any public discourse.
This is an important election, but that is not an excuse for bad judgment or actions that impugn the integrity of our party. As Republicans, and as Americans, we have a responsibility to set a higher standard.
I have asked both the leaders of these groups to take immediate and swift corrective action on these issues, and indicated that the California Republican Party vigorously opposes any material of his kind. We will continue to denounce similar behavior in any similar instances.
Photo: Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party, in 2007. Credit: Brian Baer, Sacramento Bee