Sarah Palin blasts Obama for ‘shuck and jive’ response to Libyan U.S. consulate attack, draws ire for racially loaded term
The former Alaska governor tweeted the swipe after reports confirmed the White House learned a jihadist group had claimed responsibility soon afterward for the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
By Erik Ortiz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sarah Palin took a notable swipe at President Obama on Wednesday, accusing him of ignoring early email warnings that a terror group had taken responsibility for the deadly protest last month at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
But Palin’s choice of words in her online post — that Obama did a “shuck and jive” in handling the attack — outraged some social media users for its racial connotation.
“Why the lies? Why the cover up?” Palin wrote on Facebook, adding, “We deserve answers to this. President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end.”
The former GOP vice presidential candidate also used “shuck and jive” in the headline of her note.
“How very racist and stereotyped you are!” blasted Twitter user @pat1944. “Thank God you never got to be a heart beat away from the president!”
CNN contributor Roland Martin wrote in 2008 that the “shuck and jive” term dates back to the 1870s and was an “originally southern ‘Negro’ expression for clowning, lying, pretense,” according to the book “Juba to Jive.”
“‘Shucking and jiving’ have long been words used as a negative assessment of African Americans, along the lines of a ‘foot shufflin’ Negro,’” Martin wrote. “In fact, I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase used in reference to anyone white.”
Martin, at the time, was responding to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, then the state attorney general, who used “shuck and jive” in reference to the Democratic primary race between front-runners Obama and Hillary Clinton. Cuomo later said he wasn’t referencing Obama.
Meanwhile, Palin’s use of those same words “shows her ignorance” and distracts from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign, said Christina Greer, a political science professor at Fordham University.
“As a governor, she should know the meaning behind it. Alaska has a very historic black population,” Greer said, adding that the use of loaded language is “what happens when people get desperate.”
Palin has been criticized before for other comments deemed insensitive. She said in a video posted online last year that she was the victim of “blood libel” after critics blamed her rhetoric following the deadly shooting in Arizona that seriously wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
The term “blood libel” historically has been used to describe accusations that Jews kill Christian children for religious rituals, and the word choice was considered inflammatory since Giffords is Jewish.
Palin aide Rebecca Mansour told ABC News that the ex-governor’s latest word play was meant only as a “common phrase that means to manipulatively dodge an issue.”
She added that White House spokesman Jay Carney also used the term in a 2011 press briefing. Carney was referencing himself.
Some on Twitter defended Palin while blasting the Obama administration for not acting faster against the jihadist group that claimed responsibility for the consulate attack in Libya on Sept. 11, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
“Sara Palin is, of course, correct,” tweeted @Docjp. “But the psychology of Obama will not permit him to be wrong... even when he is ... .”
Jamie Chandler, political science professor at Hunter College, said campaign rhetoric will only become more heated as Election Day draws near.
“The Ann Coulters and the Sarah Palins will have a diminishing effect as we get closer to the election, because the Republican Party wants to get more moderate,” Chandler said.
“The legitimate surrogates will continue echoing the message of the campaign,” he added.