Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, one of his party's elder statesmen and leading strategists, today accused Democrats of playing the "race card" in accusing Republicans of making race a subtext of the campaign.
Democrats have argued heatedly that Mitt Romney's unexpected new focus on welfare policy, his reference to President Barack Obama's birth certificate, and his embrace of Donald Trump — who campaigned on the latter subject — represent thinly-coded appeals to working-class white resentment of a black president.
"Name a campaign in the last 25 years where the Dems didn't play the race card," Barbour told BuzzFeed. "Surprise!"
Barbour cast the Democratic move as a sign that the party is afraid black voters won't show up at the polls.
"They feel this unbelievable need to turn out their base," he said, citing recent moves on environmental and immigration policy as plays to other elements of the Democratic base.
"Minorities have a huge unemployment rate," he said, suggesting that voter apathy has convinced the White House that it needs to "goose" their turnout.