(WASHINGTON) — No stranger to controversy, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., wants to know where “the outrage” is after a Super PAC supporting his opponent in their congressional race put out a cartoonish ad Thursday that showed West punching two women.
West, who is black (the women in the video are white), appeared on Fox News earlier to ask why “Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton [and] the NAACP” had not stepped up to defend him. Had it been a Democrat targeted in the ad, he said, there would have been “national outrage.”
As for the civil rights leaders, “They’re not going to say anything because they’re nothing but an effective wing of the Democrat[ic] Party,” West told Fox and Friends. “They have effectively kept them well placed so that they can continue to have a black electorate voting bloc.”
Hours later, the NAACP’s Hilary O. Shelton responded, telling The Huffington Post that the organization disagreed with the congressman’s assessment.
“It looks like a traditional, political, partisan commercial,” Shelton said. “The ad has him looking very well groomed, a serious look on his face and he’s wearing a suit. The only thing superimposed is a boxing glove as a symbolic analysis of his policies being inconsistent with the values of retirees, women and African-American families.
“I don’t see the symbolism in any way ingrained in stereotypes, whether it’s race or gender or ethnicity.”
The ad was paid for by the American Sunrise PAC, which is run, in part, by the father of West’s challenger, Patrick Murphy. In a statement Friday, Murphy’s campaign manager, Anthony Kusich, defended the content of the video but denied having any role in its production.
“It is telling that West does not dispute the votes cited in the ad,” Kusich wrote, “including his vote to dismantle Medicare, open up the prescription drug donut hole, and against women’s health care and insurance coverage. He even voted against the Violence Against Women Act.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Dylan Byers, CNN
Miranda Green, CNN