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MSNBC and NYT Surprised Black GOP Candidates Aligned With 'Racist' Tea Parties

Near the end of Wednesday's 10AM ET hour of live coverage on MSNBC, correspondent Luke Russert highlighted a report in Tuesday's New York Times about the number of African-Americans running for Congress as Republicans and observed: "these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans."

In the Times article, Jennifer Steinhauer noted how the Republican hopefuls were "insisting that the racial dynamics of that movement have been overblown." She then cited evidence of the supposed racism of tea partiers: "Videos taken at some Tea Party rallies show some participants holding up signs with racially inflammatory language. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 25 percent of self-identified Tea Party supporters think that the Obama administration favors blacks over whites, compared with 11 percent of the general public."

Steinhauer added: "The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. 'I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos,' said Mr. [Allen] West, the candidate in Florida, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army. 'There is no violence or racism there.'"

On MSNBC, anchor Peter Alexander introduced Russert's report by declaring: "A little bit of an odd political twist for you right now. More than a year after Barack Obama became America's first African-American president, today's New York Times reports that at least 32 black Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans." Russert cited Obama as inspiration for the GOP candidates: "Kind of an ironic twist of fate, President Obama, when he was elected, a lot of folks close to him said this will now create a real surge in terms of African-American participation in politics....It has actually empowered African-Americans, to not only to run as Democrats, but also an unusually high number as Republicans."

Seeming to forget the number of black Republicans who ran for office in recent election cycles, Russert concluded: "I'll tell you what, after November of 2010, if we wake up with four African-American Republicans congressional House members, that is a huge story that nobody in Washington saw coming."

Here is a full transcript of Russert's report:

10:53AM

PETER ALEXANDER: A little bit of an odd political twist for you right now. More than a year after Barack Obama became America's first African-American president, today's New York Times reports that at least 32 black Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans. NBC's Luke Russert saw this one for us and is joining us live right now. It wasn't since, what, seven years ago, J.C.Watts, the Republican from Oklahoma, the last African-American Republican to serve in the House, Luke.

LUKE RUSSERT: That is - that's true, indeed, Peter. And this 32 number of African-Americans running for Congress as Republicans is actually the highest number since Reconstruction. Kind of an ironic twist of fate, President Obama, when he was elected, a lot of folks close to him said this will now create a real surge in terms of African-American participation in politics, because folks will believe they can be elected. And no doubt it has. It has actually empowered African-Americans, to not only to run as Democrats, but also an unusually high number as Republicans.

Of these 32 Republicans, GOP sources I spoke to said about four have a clear path to victory. That's Mr. West of Florida, Mr. Parker of Arizona, Mr. Frazier of Colorado, Mr. Scott of South Carolina. And it's quite interesting, these candidates are actually soliciting support from the tea party, a group that a lot of folks have claimed to be racist against African-Americans. These folks actually see them as the ones they want in their tent as a path to victory. That being said, a very unique, interesting article. And Peter, I'll tell you what, after November of 2010, if we wake up with four African-American Republicans congressional House members, that is a huge story that nobody in Washington saw coming. Peter.

ALEXANDER: Certainly getting some inspiration from Michael Steele, the head of the RNC, as well. Luke Russert at the Capitol for us. Luke, thanks.

RUSSERT: Take care.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.