Debra Lee: GOP “Pandering” to Blacks and Women

BET's CEO reflected on the Republican National Convention and shared her take on the merits of the party's messages for African-American and female voters. 

Posted: 09/07/2012 02:38 PM EDT
Debra L. Lee

Debra L. Lee, chairman and CEO of BET Networks, didn’t mince words recently when she told reporters how she perceived the Republican National Convention’s messages for African-Americans and female voters — she wasn’t buying it.

“They’re pandering,” she told Politico. “That’s the word that comes to mind.”

Lee pointed to Ann Romney’s attempt to smooth things over between female voters and her husband as an example, saying tactics like those missed the mark.

“I thought some of what went on at the RNC was very disingenuous,” she said. “Ann Romney has to [give a] shout-out to women? We’re over 50 percent of the population. We need a shout-out? It was the craziest-looking thing.”

She also assessed Condoleezza Rice’s role in Mitt Romney’s overall campaign strategy and surmised that putting Rice on display won’t do much to draw Black voters across party lines.

“… Does the RNC really embrace African-Americans, really embrace women?” she asked in relation to Rice’s presence at the convention. “She gave a great speech at the RNC. Everyone uniformly agreed on that … I think it’s just a question of what she wants to do and whether the Republican Party agrees with her on some social issues, [if it] will put her out front. They need her.”

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(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

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