Race, religion enter Tenn. Dem primary

Aug. 6, 2008 at 7:45 PM
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MEMPHIS, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The campaign of a Tennessee attorney running in the Democratic congressional primary is invoking race and religion in ads against the incumbent.

Democratic attorney Nikki Tinker, who is seeking U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen's seat in the predominantly black district of Memphis, released an ad connecting Cohen, a white Jewish man, to the Ku Klux Klan and followed it up with an ad attacking his religious convictions, Politico reported Wednesday.

"Who is the real Steve Cohen, anyway?" a narrator says in the ad, as the sounds of a child praying play in the background.

"While he's in our churches clapping his hands and tapping his feet, he's the only senator who thought our kids shouldn't be allowed to pray in school. Congressman, sometimes apologies just aren't enough," the ad says, in an apparent reference to Cohen's vote in favor of a House of Representatives measure apologizing for the "fundamental injustice" of slavery and racial segregation.

Cohen campaign manager Jerry Austin said the ad is factually inaccurate.

"He's never voted against prayer in school. It's an out-and-out lie. This is desperation upon desperation," he said.

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