No one would confuse Roger Wicker, the conservative Republican senator from Mississippi, as an Obama supporter.
But in the midst of a tight election campaign against Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, he is associating himself with the Democratic presidential nominee in a radio ad targeted to African-American voters in the Magnolia State.
“I’m supporting Barack Obama for president and Roger Wicker for US Senate,” an African-American woman says in the ad. “In the debate. [Musgrove] wouldn’t even say Barack Obama’s name. He’s disrespecting us and taking our vote for granted,” she says.
Another African American says of Wicker: “He represents us and he doesn’t take our vote for granted. He’s asking for our vote. Ronnie Musgrove refuses to say he supports Barack Obama.”
Talk about political jujitsu. Musgrove has been trying to distance himself from Obama in a heavily conservative state, and is courting socially conservative white voters to win. But he also needs strong turnout and support from the state’s sizable African-American population to pull off the victory. (Mississippi has the largest percentage of black voters in the country.)