Sacramento County Republican leaders Tuesday took down offensive material on their official party Web site that sought to link Sen. Barack Obama to Osama bin Laden and encouraged people to "Waterboard Barack Obama" – material that offended even state GOP leaders.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has pushed the party to try to broaden its appeal, took issue with the site. "In the governor's view, it's completely and totally inappropriate," said Julie Soderlund, a Schwarzenegger spokeswoman.
Hector Barajas, a California Republican Party spokesman, said Democrats have been playing the race card, but that the local party went too far in this instance.
He said the campaign should be about who is ready to be the nation's commander-in-chief, that Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has never questioned Obama's patriotism, and that he'd ask local leaders to take down the offensive content.
Taking credit for the site (sacramentorepublicans.org) and its content was county party chairman Craig MacGlashan – husband of Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan.
The Bee asked MacGlashan about the content after seeking his reaction to hate-filled graffiti that was spray-painted over an Obama display on a fence at Fair Oaks Boulevard and Garfield Avenue.
In recent weeks, MacGlashan, an attorney, joined local Democratic party officials in condemning vandalism to political displays.
The vandalism to the Obama display appeared to have been done overnight Monday. A racial epithet, profanity, "KKK" and the words "white power" were clearly visible from the roadway. Six of the nine fence panels were defaced.
"What you are describing to me is not free speech, it's vandalism. We don't condone it," MacGlashan said.
But he defended his Web site. "I'm aware of the content," he said. "Some people find it offensive, others do not. I cannot comment on how people interpret things."