County GOP official removed for remarks
By KATHLEEN HENNESSEY, Associated Press Writer
Saturday, September 27, 2008
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(09-27) 20:34 PDT LAS VEGAS, (AP) –
The spokeswoman for the Republican Party in Nevada’s most populous county was removed from her post Saturday, after she said the Democratic Party made black people “dependent on the government.”
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Didi Lima, the Clark County GOP communications director, also was removed from her volunteer role as a Hispanic community liaison for Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign over the remarks made earlier in the day while working at a McCain campaign booth.
“We don’t want (Hispanics) to become the new African-American community,” Lima told The Associated Press. “And that’s what the Democratic Party is going to do to them, create more programs and give them handouts, food stamps and checks for this and checks for that. We don’t want that.”
“I’m very much afraid that the Democratic Party is going to do the same thing that they did with the African-American culture and make them all dependent on the government and we don’t want that,” she said.
In August, Lima was named co-chair of McCain’s Nevada Hispanic Leadership Team, which aimed to reach out to a crucial voting bloc in a state where polls show McCain in a dead heat with Barack Obama.
“Didi Lima is no longer a part of this campaign, her comments don’t reflect Senator McCain’s beliefs and are not tolerated on his campaign,” McCain spokesman Rick Gorka said after learning about her remarks.
Lima is the second Republican Party official to land in hot water this week over comments perceived as inflaming tensions between blacks and Hispanics.
The chairman of the Republican Party in New Mexico’s most populous county resigned Thursday, nearly a week after saying “Hispanics consider themselves above blacks” and won’t vote for Obama.
Fernando C de Baca had been urged to resign for days by members of his own party.
Clark County Republican Party Chairman Bernie Zadrowski said he was “appalled” by Lima’s remarks. Lima was appointed party spokeswoman in late July.
“She was speaking for herself, not the Clark County Republican Party,” Zadrowski said. “And she won’t be speaking for the Clark County Republican Party anymore.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said the remarks were “proof of how out of touch John McCain and Republicans are with the issues facing all Americans today.”