Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is appealing for donations in an E-mail accusing college Republicans of allowing the sale of racist and antigay T-shirts at a convention this summer. "I need you to join me in showing we reject the divisive politics some in the GOP are passing on to a new generation of Republicans," Kerry wrote in the E-mail Thursday, also posted on his campaign Web site.
The E-mail includes a photo of the shirts. One reads, "No Muslims, No Terrorism." Another features a photo of black filmmaker Spike Lee with the message "Bring back the blacklist." A third shows a photo of lesbian TV personality Rosie O'Donnell and her partner with the line "Mr. (?) and Mrs. (?) Rosie O'Donnell." Another reads, "The Clinton Legacy," accompanied by an image of the World Trade Center after a plane had crashed into it.
Kerry's E-mail said that the T-shirts were displayed and sold at the College Republicans National Convention in Washington, D.C., in July. "The divisive slogans and graphic pictures are not to be laughed off as campaign rhetoric--they are racist, antigay, and violent," Kerry wrote. "I support the First Amendment, and I am using my right to free speech to protest their politics of division. But our protest must come in actions, not words. Click here to contribute now."
Kerry told prospective donors he's "taken the high road in this campaign" and needs their support "to send George Bush and his right-wing friends back to Texas."
David Joyslin, spokesman for the College Republican National Committee, said his group had nothing to do with the T-shirts and that he was unfamiliar with the company that sold them. "We sold over 50 tables to vendors," Joyslin said. "We didn't monitor every single product of every single vendor. Obviously our organization wouldn't endorse any statements of the sort that I saw on the Internet." Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel condemned the T-shirts and referred the Associated Press to the College Republicans for further comment.