Republican chair 'appalled' by Obama parody

/ Source: The Associated Press

The chairman of the Republican National Committee on Saturday admonished one of his potential successors for giving members a CD featuring a song called "Barack the Magic Negro."

Chip Saltsman, who is seeking the RNC chairmanship, sent committee members a 41-track CD by conservative comedian Paul Shanklin as part of his Christmas message to committee members. The CD includes the controversial song about President-elect Barack Obama.

"The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party," RNC Chairman Robert M. "Mike" Duncan said in a statement. "I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."

The ditty originated on conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh's radio program in reference to a March 2007 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times by David Ehrenstein headlined "Obama the 'Magic Negro.'" In the article, Ehrenstein argued that voting for Obama helped white voters alleviate guilt over racial wrongs in the past.

Shanklin's parody is sung to the music of the "Puff, the Magic Dragon."

Other tracks on the CD lampooning liberal targets are titled "We Hate the USA," "The Star Spanglish Banner," "Love Client 9" about former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal, and "Down on the Farm with Al Gore."

"Paul Shanklin is a longtime friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are lighthearted political parodies," Saltsman told The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper that published a story about the CD on Friday.

Saltsman managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.

Limbaugh has insisted that the song was a parody to prove a point about liberal white voters.

"I can tell you think the term 'Negro' is inappropriate, that it's old hat and shouldn't be used, that it's divisive and this sort of thing, and you may have a point," Limbaugh told a caller objecting to the song in March 2007, according to show transcripts. "But remember what we do on this program: We illustrate absurdity by being absurd."