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Color of Change denounces business group's 'Bangalore' ad

UPDATE: An earlier version of this post reported on calls for Lincoln to denounce the ad. She denounced it before today.

This Americans for Job Security ad running against Bill Halter, who's challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) in this month's Democratic primary, used such strange and obvious dog whistles that I was, frankly, astounded. Just as there was no non-racial interpretation of the infamous Obama campaign memo that called Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab), there's no good reason for a pro-business group to portray colorful Indian characters thanking Halter -- who served on a corporate board that voted to send some jobs to India.

"It's race-baiting, without question," said James Rucker, the executive director of the liberal watchdog group Color of Change. "You've got the Indian music. You've got the accents. To me it's a clear communication to voters, black and white, that these "others" are benefiting from something that should be yours. It's cynical. It's sad."

Rucker, whose group took some credit when CNN host Lou Dobbs (a vehement critic of "outsourcing") lost his show, couldn't see any straightforward reason why the business-funded Americans for Job Security would come out so hard against a common business practice. "This messaging does not fit in line with pro-business perspective, from what I can tell."

Americans for Job Security took issue with that; the group's president, Stephen DeMaura, told me that no one should be surprised to hear them criticizing a specific case of outsourcing.

"We think that if American companies have opportunities to create jobs in America than they should," said DeMaura. "Our name is 'Americans' for job security. To argue that this is not inside our wheelhouse is sort of silly."

By David Weigel  |  May 3, 2010; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Election  
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