RNC candidate defends distribution of 'Barack the Magic Negro'
Nick Cargo
Published: Friday December 26, 2008

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Update below: GOP chairman Duncan 'appalled' by 'Magic Negro' song

A candidate for Chairman of the Republican National Committee has defended a song containing a racially insensitive term as mere satire, The Hill reported.

Tennessee Republican John "Chip" Saltsman, former manager for Mike Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign, included a 41-track CD by conservative satirist Paul Shanklin with a recent greeting to RNC members. Included on the disc was a musical parody of "Puff the Magic Dragon" entitled "Barack the Magic Negro," sung by Shanklin imitating black civil rights advocate Rev. Al Sharpton, first played by Rush Limbaugh on his syndicated radio show in March 2007.

Other tracks on the compilation, entitled "We Hate the USA," include "Wright Place, Wrong Pastor," "Love Client #9," "The Star Spanglish Banner" and "John Edwards' Poverty Tour."

"Paul Shanklin is a long-time 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 light-hearted political parodies," Saltsman said, adding that it was meant as a joke at the expense of Los Angeles Times columnist David Ehrenstein, whose opinion piece, "Obama the 'Magic Negro'", originally inspired the song.

Then-Senator Obama, Ehrenstein opined, was running not only for President, but also for the post of "Magic Negro," a character meant to assuage guilt felt by white liberals over the country's history of slavery and racial segregation and buck stereotypes about black men. The lyrics of "Barack the Magic Negro" (audio here) imply that Obama wouldn't have had a shot at the presidency had he been "from the 'hood," or "authentically" black.


Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan said Saturday that he is "shocked and appalled" Saltsman would distribute Shanklin's 'Magic Negro' song, in an effort to distance party leadership from its lyrics.

Regardless of the vocal outcry over the extremely poor taste of Saltsman's stunt, no prominent Republican has come out to criticize party-favorite radio host Rush Limbaugh for giving Shanklin's racial humor a national platform.