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Senate staff researcher suspended over anti-Obama e-mail

Juliana D. Norwood | 12/8/2010, 5 p.m.

According to the Associated Press (AP), Louisiana State Senate researcher Tammy Crain-Waldrop was recently suspended without pay, after sending an e-mail to hundreds of government workers apparently trying to show President Barack Obama depicted as a White man with pale skin, blue eyes and fine brown hair.

The e-mail said "Do you like him any better now? No? Me neither . . . Then you're not a racist."
The e-mail was an effort to show that anybody who doesn't support the president, doesn't necessarily have to be a racist, and that Obama's being Black holds no bearing on the dislike.

Several African-American government employees who received the e-mail replied expressing how offensive the message was.

Immediately after the original message was sent, Crain-Waldrop sent another message apologizing and saying she sent it to the state capitol e-mail box by mistake, but she was still suspended without pay pending an investigation.

The head of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Patricia Smith, said the caucus didn't ask for any specific action against Crain-Waldrop, but will wait to see what type of reprimand she receives for the e-mail.

"It's a personnel matter as of right now," said Smith, D-Baton Rouge. "Those of us who responded were not very pleased and were very disappointed that it was sent at all. It's not taken lightly, I can tell you that."

In a similar case according to the AP, the Louisiana Senate fired its secretary, Mike Baer, in 2004 after he sent a series of sexual jokes to the state capitol e-mail box. At the time, Baer said he meant to delete the jokes but hit the wrong button on his computer and accidentally forwarded them.