Congressional candidate Alma Adams called Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Thom Tillis an “Uncle Tom” during a Charlotte rally Saturday for his opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan.
The remark drew fire from Republicans when it was publicized on the Drudge Report and the Weekly Standard Tuesday morning. Republican groups called the comment “shameful race baiting” on social media.
Charlotte public radio station WFAE features a clip of the comment. “We need to send Uncle Tom – Tillis, that is – home and elect leaders that are going to stand up, and speak up, and if necessary, act up to get things done,” Adams told the crowd.
Adams, a state representative from Greensboro, faces Republican Vince Coakley in the 12th Congressional District race to succeed former U.S. Rep. Mel Watt. The district stretches from Greensboro to Charlotte and heavily favors Democrats.
Speaking at the rally after Adams, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised her candidacy. “Let me add Alma Adams,” Clinton said after talking about Hagan, “because we need more women like her in Congress. ... She’s going to shake things up. I think the Kay-Alma combination is really going to put North Carolina ahead of the parade.”
The term “Uncle Tom” – a reference to the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – is typically used to describe African-Americans who are considered subservient to whites.