by Barbara Sowell
A quote attributed to Sandra Cichon, a private citizen, is spreading across the internet as a living example of White Racism. Did a reporter put words in this woman’s mouth?
An article in the St. Petersberg Times, quotes Cichon as having said, “I can't imagine having a black president . . .”
In a phone interview Saturday, Sandra Cichon of Spring Hill, Florida denied that she ever spoke with any pollster or reporter concerning Obama or about anything regarding race. Cichon was taken by surprise when phoned by this reporter, and she was not aware that she had been quoted in any newspaper.
The September 15, 2008 article Black ‘issue’ hangs over presidential polls by Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times Political states:
A pollster calling Sandra Cichon, a 60-year-old Democrat from Spring Hill, would hear her identify herself as an undecided voter. But is she really?
"I can't imagine having a black president, and I think he's inexperienced," she told a reporter recently, eventually acknowledging she was leaning unenthusiastically toward McCain. "I don't think we (Democrats) have a chance to be in the White House with Obama."
Many analysts wonder how many voters answering polls hide their racial biases or mislead survey-takers about their real preferences.
The article fails to name the pollster who claimed to have called Cichon. When asked during my phone interview, Cichon denied speaking to any pollster on the phone.
Cichon explained that the only time she spoke with a reporter was in August when she went to vote in the county commission races. She said that he (the reporter) seemed nice and she gave him a catalogue for gift baskets.
Cichon is quoted in an August 27, 2008 article in the St. Petersburg Times, Russell, Mitchell, Hackworth win congressional primaries, by Rita Farlow, Stephanie Garry and John Frank, Times Staff Writers.
Many Democratic voters said they were unimpressed with the quality of the candidates.
"I don't know one from the other," said Sandra Cichon of Spring Hill.
Sandra Cichon shows up in another August 27, 2008 St. Petersburg Times article Dismal voter turnout in Hernando by Barbara Behrendt and John Frank. Times staff writer, John Frank, was a reporter on both August 27th articles.
Some Democratic voters said they found the experience largely unsatisfying based on the quality of congressional candidates on their ticket. . . .Sandra Cichon, 60, cast a ballot at Spring Hill United Church of Christ. She left disappointed because she couldn't vote in the hotly contested commission races as a registered Democrat.
"I wouldn't even have come if I knew," she said.
In a phone call to Times Political Editor, Adam Smith, who authored the article in question, Smith said that he had the utmost confidence in the reporter, John Frank. Smith said that Frank was the reporter who actually spoke with Cichon. Smith said it is understandable that Cichon wouldn’t want to admit over the phone to making that statement, but “polls all over are showing that people are not hesitant in stating that they won’t vote for a black person.”
The progressive DoubleTake is the blog for the Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere - Los Angeles. AWARE-LA paraphrases the same September 15, 2008 article Black ‘issue’ hangs over presidential polls, by Adam C. Smith. But notice that something has been added to the Cichon quote.
Later in the article Sandra Cichon, a 60-year-old Democrat from Spring Hill, who originally identified herself to a pollster as an undecided voter, recently told a reporter, “I can’t imagine having a black president, and I think he’s inexperienced.”
Sandra then asked the reporter if she would like a fresh batch of “Obama Waffles.”
Sandra Cichon was asked during my interview today (Saturday) if she had asked the reporter if he would like a fresh batch of “Obama Waffles” ?
Cichon responded, “Why would I ask a reporter about waffles? This is crazy. I never spoke to any reporter about Obama. I’m going right down to the St. Petersburg Times and demand a retraction!
Times Editor, Adam Smith was asked if he had heard that Cichon had offered the reporter “Obama Waffles?” Smith said he was not aware of that quote.
Originally published Saturday, September 20, 2008 in Digital Journal.