The Politico released this rather slanted article called Black backers steadfast for Clinton which singles out Color of Change’s petition calling on Black superdelegates to vote with their district at the 2008 Democratic Convention. As a member of Color of Change, I am concerned.

Here’s an excerpt:

African-American superdelegates said Thursday that they’ll stand up against threats, intimidation and “Uncle Tom” smears rather than switch their support from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama.

“African-American superdelegates are being targeted, harassed and threatened,” said Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.), a superdelegate who has supported Clinton since August. Cleaver said black superdelegates are receiving “nasty letters, phone calls, threats they’ll get an opponent, being called an Uncle Tom.

[...]

Black superdelegates are getting heavy pressure from such groups as ColorOfChange.org, a grass-roots organization whose members overwhelmingly support Obama.

“Some [Congressional Black Caucus] members are threatening to vote against their constituents, and perhaps against the will of the American people, by casting their superdelegate vote for Sen. Clinton,” the ColorOfChange.org website reads. “We can prevent this from happen by letting black leadership know we’re watching.”

Mervyn Mercano, Communications Director over at CoC shared with me the letter that Color of Change sent to the article’s author, Josephine Hearn. Emphasis mine.

Josephine,

We here at ColorOfChange.org just came across your story “Black Backers Steadfast for Clinton” on Politico.com. After a careful read of the story, we think there are some serious problems that need to be addressed.

First and foremost, this organization is not “backing” Barack Obama. We did poll our membership on the presidential campaign and an overwhelming number of people were voting for Senator Obama. That, however, did not result in any endorsement of Senator Obama.

In fact, our campaign is not about generating support for any candidate. Our position has been clear from the start: we respect members of Congress supporting whoever they wish, endorsing whoever they wish. The issue at hand is using their superdelegate privilege to undermine the will of voters. We have been clear about this in our email outreaches to members and other materials. The links to those materials, available on our website, are pasted below.

Second, providing an avenue for our members to speak up and contact representatives about this issue, or any other, is advocacy, not intimidation. The fact that your article groups our campaign with others focused on intimidation and threats to CBC members misrepresents our organization and our members. I’m providing a link below to the letter that we sent to Congressional Black Caucus members, which includes a sampling of the thousands of comments written by individuals as part of this campaign, so you get a sense of their level of engagement on what they see as a clear voting rights issue. You may view it online or download the attachment.

It’s important to note that neither you nor any reporter associated with Politico ever contacted us about this story. We think it is unfortunate and results in misinformation and misrepresentation to quote and highlight a subject without giving them an opportunity to comment or respond.

We would ask that you print a strong and prominent retraction, making clear the errors in the story. Almost 25,000 of our members have taken time to raise this important issue; it is critical that we defend the integrity of that civic engagement.

I thank you in advance for your attention to this very serious matter and look forward to your prompt response.

To view our materials on this campaign, visit: www.colorofchange.org/superd

Our letter to CBC members is here, in PDF form: www.colorofchange.org/superd/letter_to_cbc_members.pdf

Please note that the Politico has already issued a correction at the bottom of the article:

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Veronica Escobar is not a superdelegate. The story has also been updated to reflect the fact that while a majority of ColorOfChange.org’s members support Barack Obama, the organization has not endorsed him.

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