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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / UPLAND

GOP women's club chief resigns over Obama cartoon

October 23, 2008|David Kelly

The president of a San Bernardino County Republican women's club that published an illustration of Barack Obama surrounded by ribs, fried chicken and watermelon resigned Wednesday, saying she demonstrated "poor judgment" and a lack of sensitivity.

Diane Fedele faced intense pressure from state GOP leaders who called the drawing racist and Democrats who demanded she quit as head of the Upland-based Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated.

In a sometimes combative apology sent to club members, Fedele said she received the illustration through a chain e-mail and used it for a "satiric" attack on what she sees as Obama's "socialist" agenda of government giveaways. When confronted by an African American club member, she said she apologized for the cartoon but the woman took the story to the media.

"For many it may be hard to believe, but some people do not associate certain foods with particular groups," Fedele said. "I do not think like a bigot, and because of that fact I did not view this as racial, because I do not have a racially discriminating point of view."

She accused the media of branding Republicans racist whenever they criticize the Democratic presidential nominee.

Hector Barajas, a spokesman for the state GOP, said the decision to resign was a personal one between Fedele and the 200-member club. "As far as we are concerned these images and words have no place in this campaign," he said.

-- David Kelly

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