WASHINGTON -- Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) says a new campaign ad depicting him punching white women in the face fuels racist stereotypes and would spark "national outrage" if he weren't a black conservative. But an NAACP spokesman begs to differ.
The ad, released Thursday by American Sunrise PAC, features a cartoon version of West punching an elderly woman in a boxing ring as a narrator says West "socked it to seniors" by pushing to gut Medicare. It also shows West punching a younger woman as the narrator criticizes West's support for cuts to women's health care funding. Both women are white.
West said Friday that people across the country would be furious if the ad depicted a white man punching a woman of color, but because he is African American and a Republican, nobody is offended by it.
"There would be national outrage," West said in an interview on Fox News. "That's part of the duplicitous hypocrisy that comes with the liberal left. They believe that they can do anything, especially if you're a black conservative."
The Florida Republican specifically said news outlets like The Huffington Post would be "apoplectic" if a conservative PAC ran an ad with a black Democratic politician punching a white woman. He also called out civil rights leaders for not speaking up.
"Where's the outrage from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and the NAACP about this?" West asked. "They're not going to say anything because they're nothing but an effective wing of the Democratic Party."
Even former presidential candidate Herman Cain waded into the matter, tweeting Friday that he found the ad "distasteful and dishonest."
But NAACP spokesman Hilary Shelton said he watched the ad several times, specifically looking for the concerns raised by West, and saw nothing.
"Racist is not a term I would utilize to sum up this commercial," Shelton told The Huffington Post. "It looks like a traditional, political, partisan commercial."
"The language utilized doesn't present Allen West as a stereotype of an African American," 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."
The NAACP spokesman said the demographics of the people in the ad accurately represent the make-up of West's district, which makes the ad "fair game" in the midst of 2012 politicking. He also dismissed the idea that the ad is offensive to women.
The younger woman being punched in the face "is not wearing a bikini. The expression on her face is not one of fear. It's a serious expression, but it's not of someone being threatened," Shelton said. "I don't see the symbolism in any way ingrained in stereotypes, whether it's race or gender or ethnicity."
Anthony Kusich, a spokesman for Patrick Murphy, West's Democratic challenger, emphasized that Murphy's camp "had nothing to do" with the creation of the ad, despite the fact that Murphy's father runs the PAC that released it.
Kusich also questioned how West could be so upset about the ad given his reputation for having extreme views.
"It is amazing to hear Allen West complain considering he recently called Social Security 'slavery,' said the President is trying to 'enslave' Americans, and told a female colleague she was 'vile and despicable,'" Kusich said in a statement. "Further, it is telling that West does not dispute the votes cited in the ad, including his vote to dismantle Medicare, open up the prescription drug donut hole, and against women's healthcare and insurance coverage. He even voted against the Violence Against Women Act."
"His anti-senior and anti-woman record is clear," he said.
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