Allen West, NAACP at odds over super PAC ad

By Arturo Garcia
Saturday, August 11, 2012 18:14 EDT
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Rep. Allen West (R-FL), pictured in a super PAC attack ad. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.
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Rep. Allen West (R-FL) wanted to know “where’s the outrage” from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) after an ad was released depicting him hitting white women and black families. It turns out there isn’t any.

“Where’s the outrage from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the NAACP about this?” West asked The Huffington Post Friday. “They’re not going to say anything because they’re nothing but an effective wing of the Democratic Party.”

But the director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, Hilary Shelton, said the language used in the ad did not play into stereotypes harmful to African-Americans.

“The ad has him looking very well groomed, a serious look on his face and he’s wearing a suit,” Shelton told The Post. “The only thing superimposed is a boxing glove as a symbolic analysis of his policies being inconsistent with the values of retirees, women and African-American families.”

The commercial, funded by the American Sunrise super PAC, shows a grinning West punching out victims, each allegedly linked to West’s policy history: an elderly white woman (votes against Medicare); a young white woman (votes against women’s health care funding); and a black family (his support for presumptive Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s budget plan), then laughing about it.

American Sunrise is funded by Tom Murphy Jr., whose son Patrick could be the Democratic challenger for West’s seat this November. Federal records show that the elder Murphy has donated $250,000 in support of Patrick Murphy’s candidacy.

When reached by WPTV-TV Friday, Patrick Murphy did not comment on camera, but did send a written statement saying, “The Murphy campaign had nothing to do with the content or creation of this ad. His (Allen West) anti-senior and anti-woman record is clear.”

The station also showed the commercial to some Florida residents, prompting mixed reactions. One white resident, Tami Marzahl, said she thought it suggested West does not like white people.

“That’s what I take away from it,” she said. “If I were to see that on T.V. I would go he’s totally racist.”

Meanwhile, a black resident, Ted Ford, told the station he thought the commercial stuck to attacking West on political grounds.

“I think what I capture out of it is just that he’s taking a shot at elderly people,” Ford said. “I’m not seeing the racial piece of that.”

The NAACP has already had at least one awkward encounter with West’s party this election season, when presumptive presidential candidate Mitt Romney was booed during an appearance at the organization’s national convention last month after vowing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama.

Shelton later told MSNBC host Ed Schultz Romney “rigged the crowd” by flying a group of African-American VIPs into the convention so they could make it appear like the candidate was enjoying support from the NAACP membership.

“I’m sure those are the one they set down with because, quite frankly, none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him,” Shelton said.

Watch WPTV’s report on the ad, aired Friday, below:

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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