Saltsman sent RNC members one of Rush Limbaugh's CD's containing the parody song "Barack the Magic Negro" written by Paul Shanklin. Saltsman said it was a "joke" but some Republicans aren't buying it. Especially those who are active in promoting the race online.
"I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his [Shanklin's] songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies,” Saltsman told The Hill newspaper.
One GOP activist who goes by the name aureliusmaximus on Twitter wrote, "satire or not it was completely inappropriate for someone running for RNC chair to do - time to drop out Saltsman." (There's more discussion of the controversy on this RNC feed HERE.)
Saltsman's controversial mailer may hurt another RNC Chair hopeful. It reminds many race watchers that South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson has been tagged as racially insensitive for belonging to an all-white country club.
Update: There's been lots of reaction since I posted yeseterday. Current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan and Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis are firmly against the mailer. RNC member Ada Fischer, who is a black woman, wrote a letter urging her colleagues to vote against Saltsman over this, but perhaps most shocking reaction is that of former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. He's defending the mailer. Here is the statement he gave to Politico.
BLACKWELL: "Unfortunately, there is hypersensitivity in the press regarding matters of race. This is in large measure due to President-Elect Obama being the first African-American elected president. I don't think any of the concerns that have been expressed in the media about any of the other candidates for RNC chairman should disqualify them. When looked at in the proper context, these concerns are minimal. All of my competitors for this leadership post are fine people."