President of GOP group resigns over racist image of Obama

Diane Fedele apologizes for including the image -- Barack Obama on a food stamp with fried chicken and watermelon -- in a newsletter, but defends the message.

By Alex Koppelman
Published October 23, 2008 7:35PM (EDT)

You may remember from last week the story of the California Republican group getting some unwanted attention for including in its newsletter an image of Barack Obama on a food stamp, surrounded by fried chicken, watermelon and other racist stereotypes. Well, the president of the group has now resigned.

Diane Fedele apologized last week "to anyone who was offended" by the cartoon, but said there was no racist intent involved in its distribution, telling a local newspaper, "I never connected. It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else." In a letter she sent Wednesday of this week to her group's members, she apologized again, saying she'd shown "poor judgment and lack of insight and sensitivity."

But she again said there was no racist intent, and defended the message, the Associated Press reports. "The point, that has been lost in the subsequent discussion over images, was that Obama will 'take from the rich and give to the poor' and that we ALL would be buying food with his 'Obama Welfare Dollars.' An ideological statement, not a racial one," Fedele wrote.

Fedele was the president of Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated. State Republican Party officials have distanced themselves from the group, saying it's not directly responsible to the party, and a spokesman condemned the use of the cartoon.

One other interesting tidbit from the AP's report on this: It appears that the image is actually originally the product of a Democrat, Tim Kastelein, who says he intended it to poke fun at conservative pundits afraid of Obama.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Barack Obama War Room