The Obama surrogate who blamed the president’s falling poll numbers in Virginia on racist tactics by Republicans has a history of claiming racism.
State Sen. Louise Lucas (D., Portsmouth), told a radio host that Republican candidate Mitt Romney is "speaking to that fringe out there who do not want to see anybody other than a white person in a leadership position."
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"I absolutely believe it’s all about race and for the first time I’ve convinced my children finally that racism is alive and well," she said.
Lucas appeared on the WHKT talk show in her official capacity as an Obama surrogate. The president’s reelection campaign refused to respond to media requests about the comment.
Lucas did not return a call for comment.
Lucas, an African American, has a history of race-baiting rhetoric and lawsuits, according to a Washington Free Beacon analysis.
In 2008, Lucas sued the city of Portsmouth for not providing two construction companies she owned with low cost loans. The $100 million lawsuit claimed "the [city] council denied the money because the proposed project was led mostly by blacks."
The lawsuit prompted immediate outrage from the city and Virginia media. The Virginian-Pilot said that Lucas’ attempt to brand her constituents as racist was "specious, irresponsible, and incendiary." Lucas eventually dropped the lawsuit.
That was not the first time Lucas’ racism allegations have fallen flat. In her 2001 congressional campaign, she claimed a Republican delegate’s get-out-the-vote appeal on behalf of her rival, J. Randy Forbes, smacked of racism. Del. Riley E. Ingram (R., Hopewell) told Forbes supporters that Lucas was "working to get the people out to vote. … Her people. Not Randy’s people, not my people, not your people." Lucas insisted that Ingram directed his comments at blacks rather than at Democrats.
"I’m very sorry that Forbes and his associates have taken this tone," she told the Richmond Times Dispatch. "Anybody who knows me knows that’s not me. I’m talking to everybody."
Forbes defeated Lucas 52-48 percent.
Lucas has played a major role in Obama’s Virginia operation, joining the campaign’s so-called Truth Team, which is designed to rebut criticism. She takes the role very seriously, telling a group of Obama supporters that criticism of the president has driven her to tears.
Newspapers in Virginia have greeted her racial rhetoric and zealous defense of Obama’s record with mockery.
"Lucas thinks Obama has done such a wonderful job—and she has this on good authority because ‘I listen to MSNBC’—that no one could possibly oppose his reelection except for racist reasons," the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote in an editorial. "Suppose Obama were Republican. No matter how well he had performed, millions of Democrats—including, no doubt, African Americans—would oppose his reelection on that basis alone … opposition stems from their belief that he is of the wrong party—not the wrong color."
Obama beat Republican Sen. John McCain in Virginia by 6 percent in 2008. However, he is running in a dead heat in 2012, according to Real Clear Politics, thanks in part to a Republican resurgence that has seen the GOP capture the governor’s mansion and both branches of the state legislature since 2009.