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Democratic Party leader says Alabamians vote against Democrats because they’re racist

Joe Reed (Photo: YouTube screenshot)
Joe Reed (Photo: YouTube screenshot)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — During an interview with the Birmingham News over the weekend, Joe Reed, longtime vice chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party and no. 2 man at the Alabama Education Association (AEA), blamed the Democrats’ election day losses on whites voting Republican against their own self interest simply because President Obama is black.

“Too many whites in Alabama are motivated to vote against Obama because he is black,” he said bluntly. “Now they will tell you it’s because he’s liberal but he’s really not liberal in my view. But he sure as hell is black. I’m disappointed in white voters. Too many of them are voting against their self-interests. White voters, especially the middle class and poor white voters should be the very ones demanding a lottery to help pay their kids college costs and expanding Medicaid to help pay health care costs. And what did they do in the governor’s race? They voted against those things by voting for Gov. Bentley who will (do) nothing to get a lottery and who has said he’s opposed to expanding Medicaid.”

Reed brushed off the idea that voters may have voted against Democrats because of their policies, saying that Obama has made some mistakes, but “has not gotten the credit he deserves.”

“I know I’m right. All you have to do is look at all those ads the Republicans ran, not against the Alabama Democrat running against them, but against Obama,” he said. “Hell! They mentioned him so often that I expected to see his name on the ballot Tuesday.”

Reed did not acknowledge that the president himself had encouraged voters to go to the polls and vote based on how they felt about his policies.

“I am not on the ballot this fall,” he said during a speech in October. “But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”

The longtime Alabama Democratic leader’s comments come just days after Condoleezza Rice, another Alabama native, bemoaned Democrats’ tendency to play racial politics, rather than focusing on policy differences.

“The idea that you would play such a card and try fear mongering among minorities just because you disagree with Republicans, that they are somehow all racists, I find it appalling. I find it insulting,” she said. “We are not race blind. Of course we still have racial tensions in this country. But the United States of America has made enormous progress in race relations and it is still the best place on Earth to be a minority. And as a Republican black woman from the South, I would say to them, ‘Really? Is that really the argument that you’re going to make in 2014?”

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