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Black Democrats Tout Obama Initiatives, Blast Mitt Romney And Artur Davis As Republican Convention Gets Underway

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Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.)
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.)

As Republicans took to the floor Tuesday to nominate Mitt Romney at the Republican National Convention, Democrats warned that Romney's policies would hurt blacks while touting Obama administration initiatives aimed at blacks.

"All we hear from the other side is how we need to continue to provide tax cuts for the wealthy and make believe that at some point in the not-too-distant future the profits that they reap will dwindle down to the rest of us," said Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.). "That has not happened and that will not happen."

Clyburn criticized Romney for placing an undisclosed amount of money in offshore accounts to avoid having to pay taxes on them. "I would love to have seen Mr. Romney put his money in banks in Tampa or in Charlotte, North Carolina, so those banks can lend money to businesses," Clyburn said.

Patrick Gaspard, the executive director of the Democratic National Committee, said that two-thirds of the program cuts specified in Romney running mate Rep. Paul Ryan's budget were aimed at programs that help low-income earners.

Both Clyburn and Gaspard zinged Artur Davis, the former congressman and Obama surrogate who defected to the Republican Party. Davis broke with the party to vote against Obama's health care law; he was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus to do so. Davis also is set to speak at the Republican National Convention tonight.

"The 5 percent of the time he did not vote with the president and with Democrats were just ill-advised," Clyburn said, referencing Davis' "no" votes on the Affordable Care Act and the federal government's bailout of the automobile industry.

Davis, who nominated Obama at the 2008 Democratic convention, was simply courting attention, said Gaspard. "This speech tonight by Artur Davis is about Artur Davis," Gaspard said.

Clyburn also said that some recent attacks on Obama were codewords meant to appeal to racial anxieties. "You call it a dogwhistle, I call it a dogbite," he said, referencing Romney's assertion that Obama changed rules allowing welfare recipients not to vote. (The claim is not accurate.)

"This goes back to Reagan's 'welfare queen' [statements] … those kinds of things I'd hoped were behind us," he said.

Gene Demby covers politics for Huffington Post BlackVoices. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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