WASHINGTON – The United States on Wednesday condemned Al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri for calling US president-elect Barack Obama a "house negro," saying it exposes his terrorist group's anti-democratic values.
"It's just, you know, more despicable comments from a terrorist," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters when asked to comment on the remarks.
"And if anybody needed ... more of a contrast between what ... the West and the United States stand for, in terms of democracy and what these terrorists stand for, I don't think you need to go any further than those comments," he said.
In an Internet audiomessage, Zawahiri insulted Obama and other black Americans who have held high office in the US administration with the term used by the late black militant leader Malcolm X.
"It is true about you and people like you ... what Malcolm X said about the house negroes," he said, naming former secretary of state Colin Powell and the current secretary, Condoleezza Rice.
An English transcript of the speech purportedly by the Al-Qaeda number two was provided by Al-Qaeda's media arm As-Sahab.
The tape features an old speech by Malcolm X in which he used the two terms, referring to house slaves who were considered more docile and on better terms with their masters than the field slaves.
On the political front, Zawahiri said: "What you have announced before ... that you will withdraw (US) troops from Iraq (and send them) to Afghanistan is a policy that is doomed to failure ...
"If you still want to be stubborn about America's failure in Afghanistan, then remember the fate of (US President George W.) Bush and (Pakistan's former president) Pervez Musharraf, and the fate of the Soviets and British before them."
In the message made available by SITE Intelligence Group in the United States, Zawahiri warned Obama of a "heavy legacy of failure" awaiting him in office.
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