Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran is blaming his party's losses last November in large part on voters who "don't want to be governed by an African-American."
The comments were made following President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday during an interview with Arab network Alhurra. Asked about the results of the midterm elections, the Virginia congressman compared the political environment to that which preceded the Civil War and suggested race was a determining factor.
"It happened ... for the same reason the Civil War happened in the United States," Moran said. "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, it's my belief, 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. And that's a basic philosophical clash," Moran said.
Moran attributed his party's opposition to an "uneasiness" with President Obama, saying the criticism comes from a "selfish and close-minded perspective."
Reached for comment, Moran's office stood by the 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," spokeswoman Anne Hughes said in an e-mail. "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."