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Reaction on the right to Saltsman's distribution of a song called "Barack the Magic Negro" in his quest to become the new chairman of the RNC has been mixed. One of Saltsman's rivals in the race for RNC chair, Ken Blackwell, an African-American himself, has defended Saltsman, dismissing the criticism as "hypersensitivity in the press":
"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," said Blackwell, who would be the first black RNC Chairman, in a statement forwarded to Politico by an aide. "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."
However, the current chairman of the RNC, Mike Duncan, has issued a statement saying he is "shocked and appalled" that Saltsman could have thought this was funny or appropriate in any way:
Duncan's statement, in full: "The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our party. I am shocked and appalled that anyone would think this is appropriate as it clearly does not move us in the right direction."