Thad Cochran Media Call Ambushed by Opponents

Image: Thad Cochran Media Call Ambushed by Opponents Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran.

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 08:28 AM

By Melanie Batley

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A conference call for reporters organized by Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran was ambushed by opponents then ended abruptly after an unidentified caller asked a "wildly offensive question" about black voters, Cochran campaign aides told the The Washington Post.

The call Wednesday had been organized to address allegations by tea party primary opponent, Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, that illegal Democrat voter irregularities explained Cochran's win.

Charles Johnson, a conservative blogger, published a story Tuesday alleging the Cochran campaign paid for votes in black communities. He followed it up by encouraging Twitter followers to "crash" the call.

One unidentified man on the call asked, "Quick question: Since black people harvested cotton, why is it OK to harvest their votes? Why is it OK to harvest the votes of black people?" CNN reported.

Cochran campaign aide Austin Barbour initially told the caller, "Sir, I don't know where you're calling from, but I'm happy to address any question, no matter the lunacy of it."

But the caller responded saying, "Why did you use black people? Why did you use black people to try to get Cochran elected when they're not even Republicans? You're treating them as if they're just idiots, and they'll just vote for Cochran just because they're black."

At that point, Barbour hung up and the call continued among those remaining who suggested President Barack Obama might have been involved before playing clips of the president, CNN reported.

McDaniel, who was defeated in last week's primary runoff by about 6,800 votes, has yet to concede.

He has pledged to mount a legal challenge to the results, and has been making fundraising appeals to fund it.

Cochran denies allegations of vote buying.

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