Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is facing blowback for an inflammatory statement made recently on Arabic television, in which he attributed racist sentiments toward President Obama as a reason for the widespread Republican victories in the 2010 midterms.
Here's how Moran explained to the outcome of the 2010 midterm elections (transcript from the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin):
[They] happened because of the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States. The Civil War happened because the Southern states, particularly the slaveholding states, didn't want to see a president who was opposed to slavery. In this case a lot of people in this country, I believe, don't want to be governed by an African American, particularly one who is inclusive, who is liberal, who wants to spend money on everyone and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society. That's a basic philosophical clash.
This isn't the first time Moran has gotten himself into trouble for his analysis of some broad and contentious issues.
In the buildup to the Iraq war in 2003, Moran sparked a firestorm when he claimed that the pro-Israel lobby and Jews were driving the decision to engage Iraq militarily.
CNN reports on Moran's original comments, made at a local antiwar forum:
"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," said Moran, whose remarks were first reported by the Reston Connection newspaper. "The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should."
In 2007, Moran again rankled the Jewish community when he lamented the power of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) by saying their influence was driven by their wealth.
(Scroll down to see Moran's latest comments.)
Moran spokesman Anne Hughes e-mailed the following statement to the Huffington Post on Friday regarding the congressman's remarks:
With nearly 1,000 identified hate groups in the U.S. and recent studies showing a majority of Americans believe racism is still widespread against African-Americans, it is no secret that our country has and continues to struggle with racial equality. The Congressman was expressing his frustration with this problem and the role it played in the last election. Rather than ignore this issue or pretend it isn't there, the Congressman believes we are better off discussing it in order to overcome it.
Rep. Moran believes that despite these pervasive problems, President Obama has the ability to make this a more unified, diverse, and stronger country.
WATCH (in Arabic):