Activists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.
Values Voter Summit organizers cut off sales of Obama Waffles boxes on Saturday, saying they had not realized the boxes displayed "offensive material." The summit and the exhibit hall where the boxes were sold had been open since Thursday afternoon.
The box was meant as political satire, said Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, two writers from Franklin, Tenn., who created the mix. They sold it for $10 a box from a rented booth at the summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council.
David Nammo, executive director of the lobbying group FRC Action, said summit organizers were told the boxes were a parody of Obama’s policy positions but had not examined them closely.
Republican Party stalwarts Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were among speakers at the forum, which officials said drew 2,100 activists from 44 states.
While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama’s politics by poking fun at his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the old image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype. Obama is portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly.
The FRC was, predictably, shocked to discover that "an exhibitor" was displaying distasteful materials at their conference
We strongly condemn the tone and content of materials that were exhibited by one of the vendors at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit. The materials represent an attempt at parody that crosses the line into coarseness and bias.
The exhibitor contacted our reviewer just days before the Summit by email and described material that sounded like it was devoted to political flip-flops on policy issues. When the content of the materials was brought to the attention of FRC Action senior officials today, they were removed and the exhibit was dismantled by the vendor at our insistence. It is our responsibility to fully vet materials that are offered at any event we cosponsor, but we are deeply dismayed that this vendor violated the spirit, message and tone of our event in such an offensive manner.
The Values Voter Summit represents a coming together of many long-established organizations that work across denominational and ethnic lines to celebrate and promote the family and a culture of life. We reject any communications that divide and distract us and frustrate these principles. Bishop Harry Jackson’s High Impact Leadership Coalition, Gary Bauer’s American Values, and Alliance Defense Fund join us in rejecting this material.
See if you can pick out Bishop Jackson, who was particularly noted as rejecting "this material" from amongst the many confirmed speakers. Hint: he’s not Michael Steele or Ken Blackwell. He’s definitely not Lou Dobbs.
OK, now meet "this vendor"
Not that I mean to suggest that these two godfearing gentlemen are, say, lying (interesting that they couldn’t get through the pizza parlor story without cracking up) but I suspect they’ve been planning this a little longer than they cop to – most likely since Obama’s breakfast became a Republican talking point five months ago (the waffle leftovers later ended up on EBay)
Bob DeMoss founded a division for Thomas Nelson, a religious publisher which freemarket.org describes as "the nation’s first Christian conglomerate, with interests in television, music, book and magazine publishing, home shopping and radio." Previously, he worked for Focus on the Family. He writes books with Tim LaHaye. [Note: FRC is a division of Focus on the Family]. Whitlock also worked for Focus on the Family, as well as Thomas Nelson. These days, though, Whitlock works for Fox. Fox Faith, yet (if you get a password screen, just hit cancel). Yep, one of the minds which brought you Obama waffles is teaching our children about God for Rupert Murdoch.
It appears, though, that the two of them have some other corporate friends.
This confused me. How on earth did they get permission to use the name of a family retailer? At least as far as donations go, Books-a-Million (there above the bugeyed picture of the candidate’s wife with grey streaks in her hair) doesn’t appear to be a particularly political organization (they also don’t appear to be selling the waffle mix online).
One of the board members, though, is a bit more active. Terry Anderson, a member of the family which owns 51% of Books-a-Million, Inc. stock, is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of American Promotional Events, Inc., which imports and sells fireworks. American Promotional Events retains the services of a lobbying firm which also represents Diebold, Ms. Whitman’s eBay, and Senator McCain’s beloved Northrup Grumman. The trade association for the fireworks industry is even more committed to communicating with Washington. Over seven of the past eight years, they’ve retained BKSH, the firm of that nice Mr. Black of Senator McCain’s campaign, and Public Strategies, a group founded by that nice Mr. McKinnon of Senator McCain’s and both of George W. Bush’s campaigns.
You remember, the one who left because he didn’t want to be part of nasty politics against Senator Obama.
I am, I should prophylactically say, entirely sure that this is all a remarkable coincidence.
Senator McCain would never indulge in disgusting racist tactics, or tolerate them from his supporters.
After all, Senator McCain is an honorable man.
And so are they all, honorable men.
Just, you know, saying.