Bush campaign denounces Dallas NAACP comments on Lieberman
DALLAS (CNN) -- Jumping into a controversy over race, religion and
politics, a spokesman for Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush
Wednesday denounced comments made by a local NAACP leader, who had earlier
criticized Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.
Calling the remarks "anti-Semitic" and "foolish," Bush spokesman Ari
Fleischer made it clear that Bush, the governor of Texas, did not agree with
the statements from Dallas NAACP President Lee Alcorn, who had raised questions
about Lieberman's Jewish faith during a local radio interview.
Bush kicks off a campaign train trip Wednesday
"In the strongest terms, the Bush-Cheney campaign condemns the
anti-Semitic remarks made against Senator Lieberman by the Dallas, Texas NAACP
President Lee Alcorn," Fleischer said. "When it comes to fighting
anti-Semitism, Governor Bush and Secretary (Dick) Cheney stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all Americans in condemning such foolish utterances."
In the radio interview with KHVN-AM, Alcorn described himself as
"concerned" with "any kind of Jewish candidate" and explained why.
"If we get a Jew person, then what I'm wondering is, I mean, what is this
movement for, you know?...I think we need to be very suspicious of any kind of
partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level because we know that their
interest primarily has to do with, you know, money and these kinds of things."
National NAACP President Kweisi Mfume also condemned Alcorn's statements, denouncing them as "repulsive" and "anti-Semitic.
Lieberman speaks at a town hall meeting in Tennessee Wednesday
The NAACP suspended Alcorn Wednesday afternoon and he resigned from the group a few hours later.
"I cannot be bought. For this reason I gladly offer my
resignation and my membership to the NAACP because I cannot
work under these constraints," Alcorn said, adding he was
starting a new state-wide group called the Coalition for the
Advancement of Civil Rights.
Mfume said of Alcorn's statements: "I find them to be repulsive,
anti-Semitic, anti-NAACP and anti-American. Mr. Alcorn does not speak for the
NAACP, its board, its staff or its membership."
Alcorn has been disciplined in the past by the NAACP. He said Wednesday that his comments had been taken out of context -- that he meant to say in the
radio interview that, given the loyalty black voters have shown to Democrats,
Vice President Al Gore should have picked a black running mate instead of a
"I'm not sure how you can criticize or make comments about Lieberman the
politician and not be cast as anti-Jewish. I think that's unfortunate," he told the
Reuters contributed to this report.