October 16th, 2008
05:35 PM ET

Obama's face on "food stamps"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/16/obama4.jpg]Michelle Dearmond
The Press-Enterprise

The latest newsletter by an Inland Republican women's group depicts Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles.

The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps - instead of dollar bills like other presidents. The statement is followed by an illustration of "Obama Bucks" - a phony $10 bill featuring Obama's face on a donkey's body, labeled "United States Food Stamps."

The GOP newsletter, which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group by e-mail and regular mail last week, is drawing harsh criticism from members of the political group, elected leaders, party officials and others as racist.

The group's president, Diane Fedele, said she plans to send an apology letter to her members and to apologize at the club's meeting next week. She said she simply wanted to deride a comment Obama made over the summer about how as an African-American he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills."

"It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness of his statement. I really don't want to go into it any further," Fedele said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "I absolutely apologize to anyone who was offended. That clearly wasn't my attempt."


soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Clarence Albuquerque

    I'm not sure if this story was supposed to be informative or entertaining. Sounds like she did a 180 degree turn around... How do you find these stories?

    October 16, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  2. Lisa

    The republicans have now shown their "true" colors. They've been hiding their racist issues for a long time now but when they are threatened with a president that is mullato their racist side comes out big time. They really are say it's liberal ideas but it's acutally the blackness. All I see is a smart man that wants to help change what is wrong in America. It's 2008 not 1968. Move on.

    October 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm |
  3. Bret Peters

    How ignorant and archaic. This is the type of thing that makes the rest of the world view us all as uneducated, and a joke. Please keep our freedom of speech, but please elect an educated, humanitarian, open-minded leader. I and most of Americans deserve better respect around the world. Vote Obama.

    October 16, 2008 at 8:27 pm |
  4. di south carolina

    This is a sad day for america that we can not see that the truth about america.

    there is 3 classes within the middleclass. the have nots, the middle have nots, and the well to do haves.

    Everyone do not eat watermelon and fried chicken. I consider that comment to be stereo type. (prejudice) Watch what you say!!! T.V. news cast.

    October 16, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  5. dawn

    unfortunately, this IS real! These people are very sick. Fedele lied in her response to questions, didn't even have the guts to say what she really meant. Racist is an understatement.

    I hope and pray that Obama will be our next president. I'm afraid of what will become of this country if we get stuck with these sick closeminded republicans.

    October 16, 2008 at 7:48 pm |
  6. DR

    I was on food stamps. Let me tell you it doesn't go far. It doesn't even cover the needs. This woman knows this is a racial slur; why can't these shamful people be fined for hate crimes? No she didn't say it to me but she said about an American candidate. How uncivil will it get? She should do more than just apologize. A fine and community service is more fair to those she insulted.

    October 16, 2008 at 7:46 pm |
  7. jan

    Does my temperament matter? I am personally sick & tired of the whole thing. I will excerise my right, to vote I will close my eyes and hit a button and come away with that good feeling of voting and not being able to complain later.

    October 16, 2008 at 7:15 pm |
  8. Arachnae

    And some people have the nerve to wonder why the GOP can't attract more minority members.

    October 16, 2008 at 7:08 pm |
  9. Vito

    If someone submits an absentee ballot and dies before the election
    should that vote be valid?

    October 16, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  10. John from Tennessee

    I think the GOP has lowered thier standards from being a party aimed to help people into deframing people over what they believe. Obama did make a remark about change and that what it was meant to be about. For this lady to say that he would be on the food stamps is apaling to hear that McCain and the rest of the party are aimed at smearing who this man is. And it has to stop.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  11. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    The sad thing is that she is not alone. There are many who think just like her in this country.

    Racism is alive and well in the United States. Don't doubt it for an instant.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm |
  12. michelle

    Okay first of all, I happen to know people who get food stamps. They have to use an electronic debit card not paper money, so she needs to get her facts straight. Secondly, saying that his face should be on a donkeys body is one of the most racist remarks I've ever heard. I hope that McCain apologizes for these remarks since he was so angry about remarks that John Lewis said about him. You know, Obama has some broad shoulders because he's had to deal with this all of his life, McCain couldn't even start to understand how discrimination feels. When you're rich and white you don't have to worry about those things. I'm half latina and half white, and even I've dealt with racism. It hurts and makes you angry. Obama hold your head high!

    October 16, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  13. Judy

    Come on now, not all Republican supporters are ignorant, red-neck, racists...just the ones who talk the loudest.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  14. Liberal in LA

    It's not about being offend, it's about people being responsible and thoughtful individuals. To use stereotypes to incorrectly describe a person just because the color of their skin or gential shows stupidity. It's a classless scared tactic!!!! All Americans should be outraged!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 at 6:39 pm |
  15. Presley

    I just opened an email my friend sent with this mess in it.
    Yea, she didn't connect it, it is just food.
    Mmm hmm.
    Um, I hate to admit, I am not surprised but I am outraged and disgusted.

    Just one more visual for me to carry when looking at McCain and Palin and in the voting booth.

    Team Obama/Biden 2008

    October 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm |
  16. earle,provincetown

    What's wrong with watermelon,fried chicken,and ribs? These people are sick puppies,idiots is probably a better word! Why is someone of black,and white blood considered a"Black Person", why not just a good ole american like any Irishman marrying a Italian called a good wholesome american? You get the picture, these(hypocrits) people want to pigeon-hole every poor slob of color in this world as a sub-culture alternatives,rather than their equal! Oh, and by the way ,these are the same ultra-conservatives that keep the abortion clinics fully employed,with the lights burning late at night!!! For shame....

    October 16, 2008 at 6:27 pm |
  17. Nicole in Birmingham

    Don't even bother to apologize because it's out there its too late! The damage has been done!

    You know this is the very reason why I will not allow myself to believe that Obama will win this election because at the end of the day there are a lot of ignorant people like this group in this "great" country that only wants to believe that we black folks are only good for manual labor. You don't have to agree with Obama views or policies but I will say this again at least give him and his family the respect that they EARNED because rather you like it or not his family is the picture of the American Dream. They have worked hard for everything they have, nothing was handed to them.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:26 pm |
  18. Connie

    When I got home from work today and listened to my messages I was stunned.  There was a HATEFUL message from John McCain and the RNC. Once again they are trying to make it sound as though Obama is a terrorist.  The information is wrong and/or extremely misleading and the tone is HATEFUL. I was equally stunned last week when at a gathering for McCain a supporter referred to Obama as a terriorist and McCain (to his credit) corrected that person and then the audience booed because he told the truth!   I wonder how John McCain allowed himself to sink so low?  By showing so little respect for his opponent, he has lost my respect for him.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
  19. Andy Ca.

    I agree with Lesley completely, however, Tammy makes a good point. People like Diane Fedele are just ignorant and don't deserve a moment of our time. I say ignore her and focus on getting Obama elected – hopefully with a huge margin!

    October 16, 2008 at 6:14 pm |
  20. Suzy

    I'm glad Obama and his campaign don't respond to these kinds of attacks. It shows that he's not going to let other people's stupidity get to him, and that he's at least trying to stick to the issues at hand. Actions speak louder than words, right?

    October 16, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  21. Suzi, Billerica, MA


    "surrounded by a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken, prompting outrage in political circles."

    That is obviously a racial slur since jokes of that nature are well known ways of promoting racist stereotypes and although the food selections in and of themselves are not an insult, they have been historically used in ways to say racist things and she must know that for why else use those food items, and for that kind of insensitivity she should resign or be fired for trying to inspire racism... can you fire someone in a position like that for that? if not, that should be some ethic violation that is firable for?

    October 16, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  22. Kayla Kuni

    I find this reprehensible. Obama's comment had nothing to do with this ploy of hers. This is clearly racism. She just 'by chance' chose watermelon and fried chicken to place by Obama's image? I think her attempt is clear here; she wants to incite Obama supporters and dupe them into making cruel statements against McCain, to lower Obama supporters to her level. We have seen this kind of hatred from McCain supporters for a while now. I wonder if they even consider that their actions are potentially having a negative impact upon independent voters who do not want to be a part of an angry mob. Overall, I find it sad that this kind of blatant racism is still present in US politics.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  23. Susan

    Oh honky puuuulease, you know that is exactly what you wanted to portray and now that you are caught, you are lying to get out of being identified as the racist you are. And no, I am not African American, I am an independant white voter who think these people doing this are taking our society back to the 50's. That is where they want it where a woman's place was in the home, the kkk ran free, and man was the king. And the good congressman John was correct, there are those among us who would bring back those dark days in Selma. We like to say we have come to far as a nation, but have we really? I hope so, because we have a chance to stand up and declare it is not the color of his skin, but the content of his character and I, for one am more than satisfied that Senator Obama has met the upstanding character requirement.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  24. Teriss

    This is another example of the racial tensions that the Republican party is propagating against Barack Obama because he is an African American.

    It is similar to profiling someone because they are gay, Asian, disabled, or a woman and it does not work in this day and age. At least amongst educated people and obviously these Republicans are not very highly evolved. This racism is so contradicting to the religious republican platform they claim to believe in and follow.

    I suppose they dropped the family values of the last election which includes acceptance and tolerance of other people who inhabit this earth.

    October 16, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  25. Saad, NJ

    She is an idiot! Fire her and deport her to Zimbabwe because people like her are bad for our lovely country.

    October 16, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  26. Annie Kate

    I can see a lot of people getting offended about this but this is really a typical example of old political attacks and I mean old like in 100 years or better. This fake food stamp dollar may be remembered in our social history long after the race is done and our generation is just a memory. And while I don't condone it I do think it was creative.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 16, 2008 at 5:56 pm |
  27. virginia

    I believe Fedele is lying when she says"That clearly wasn't my attempt" The blatant use of negative stereo types says otherwise. Hopefully, even the Republican Women of Chaffey County can see through this malicious hatemongering.
    We should be proud to feature a handsome American like Barack Obama as President on our currency. The very fact that he is the current frontrunner in the race to the White House proves that Fedele and those she represents are the minority in America. Wonder how she likes that!

    October 16, 2008 at 5:55 pm |
  28. Justin

    That was totally irresponsible. She should apologize and resign immediately.

    October 16, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  29. John Galt

    of course she doesn't want to go into it further, she made her point already. as a president of that group, she is doing a typical republican job....not knowing what is going on and being an ignoramus. propagating a typical stereotype of what the majority of republican supporters are....redneck, rascist, non-white haters....."too honest?" she might as well put her hood on right now.

    if she and her group are so bothered about obama being black at the expense of this country, then by all means, vote for obama's white half. (or whatever fraction that may be)

    October 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  30. Suzi, Billerica, MA

    I have never had to apply for food stamps but I use to teach high school and I know many of my students would not have survived if not for food stamps so she not only insults Obama but the goodness of our government to care for those in need, especially the innocent children they feed and the good people who just need a little help to get by until they can find a good job or get through a tough situation... this woman surely checks her christian values at the door, so much for republican christian values!

    October 16, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
  31. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    As a woman with a physical disability, if I took every mean thing a person said about me to heart, I'd be in therapy the rest of my life and would have never broken the barriers I did. Things can only offend you if you let them. People are stupid. Get over it, stop whining, and actually concentrate on something real in this election.

    October 16, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  32. Lesley

    I've had ENOUGH of the GOP and their idiotic attempts at smear campaigning. This isn't just racist, it's insulting! Putting the face of a US Senator on a donkey is outrageous! And making fun of a person because his mother had to use food stamps is abhorrent. The Republican party has become a disgrace.

    October 16, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  33. Max

    Oh yeah – instead let the POOR starve ...

    AS long AS you aren't AFFECTED who CARES ...


    October 16, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  34. EJ (USA)


    October 16, 2008 at 5:38 pm |