Chip Saltsman, candidate for RNC Chairman, recently visited Arkansas to meet with newly elected Arkansas Republican Chairman Doyle Webb. Saltsman previously had visited the state to meet with Arkansas Committeeman Jim Burnett. I spoke with Saltsman last week and he reported that both meetings went well as he appreciated hearing their thoughts on how the Republican National Committee can help the state party achieve success in the future. An important ingredient in Saltsman’s platform is responding to the individual needs of each state. Another candidate for RNC Chairman, Saul Anuzis also came through Arkansas recently.
Saltsman’s campaign has been sidetracked over the last week as he has had to respond to controversy over his Christmas gift to the 168 members of the RNC. Saltsman sent out a CD with collections political parodies written by long time friend Paul Shanklin. Shanklin’s songs, often featured on the Rush Limbaugh Show, included a song entitled “David Ehrenstein’s Barack the Magic Negro.” Listeners of Limbaugh will recall that there was controversy surrounding this song last spring when the song was played on the his show. Several of Saltsman’s opponents for the RNC chairman have come out publicly criticizing Saltsman for the gift included the current chairman Mike Duncan and Saul Anuzis, while Ken Blackwell has defended the gift.
Expect the race for RNC Chairman to heat up in the coming weeks with the actual vote taking place at the next meeting of the Republican National Committee at the end of January. A debate has been scheduled for January 5, sponsored by the Americans for Tax Reform. The next day, the candidates will meet in Washington to address the RNC’s Conservative Steering Committee which will hold a straw poll and a list of approved candidates that the organization believes to be conservative enough to lead the party.
UPDATE - The Hill is reporting that the Republican National Committee will meet in an unusual special called meeting on January 7 to hear from the RNC Chairman candidates. A seldom used rule was involved where by a majority of the RNC members could call a special meeting. The sole agenda for the meeting is to hear from the RNC Chairman candidates, which will come on the heels of the January 5 debate and January 6 straw poll.
UPDATE II - KATV reports that Paul Shanklin is defending the song saying that it is political satire and supposed to be provocative.