A Michigan Republican and finance chair of the Republican National Committee said at a tea party meeting — caught on video — before the presidential election that Detroit voters are bussed around and vote multiple times after being picked up from barbershops and pool halls, reported the Detroit Free Press. The comments have been called racist and classist.
On Aug. 9 in Milford, Mich., Ron Weiser said, “If Obama loses Michigan, his paths to the White House reduce substantially. It’s very hard to see a path to the White House for him again. If we lose Virginia or Ohio, it saves us the election and we will still win. That’s how important Michigan is.”
“Now,” he went on, “I’m going to tell you my own theories in Michigan because it’s one of the reasons the RNC is sending as much money as they are here and why you will see some of our friends spending money here.”
He then discussed the number of votes the GOP needs to surmount Democrats in the state and referred to the shrunk population of Detroit. He also said that there were no Republican “machines” in the state.
“There’s no machine to go to the pool halls and the barbershops and put those people on buses and then bus them from precinct to precinct where they vote multiple times. And there’s no machine to get ’em to stop playing pool and drinking beer in the pool hall. And it does make a difference,” he said.
He later said in the video, “Obama has hired a lot of people to go help him get that vote out. But if you’re not from Detroit, the places where those pool halls and barbershops are, you’re not going to be going at 6:30 in November. Not without a side arm.”
He told the Detroit Free Press that the comments were not meant to be racist and apologized if anyone was offended. He also said in a statement that he was referring to “past Democrat Party political machines.”
Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer told the paper that the video speaks to “the worst possible stereotypes about African-American voters that you can imagine.”