The quote ran near the end of a story on The State newspaper of Columbia about Rev. William Barber's weekend appearance in South Carolina:
“A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” Barber told The State. “The extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”
The comment, aimed at U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's only African American Republican, generated national attention.
Scott told Fox News' Megyn Kelly Tuesday that he was the target of “philosophical bigotry.”
“What we’re hearing is baseless rhetoric about the same old things that have not worked so far," Scott said. “We’ve had a 50-year war led by the government on poverty, and it hasn’t taken people out... In this country, conservatives, free market capitalism, produces greater success than the government can ever do.”
Barber's remark was picked up across the country. The N.C. GOP released samples of that reaction in a news release headlined, "America meets Rev. William Barber."
Barber made the comments in Columbia when he spoke against what he called the dangers of Republican "right-wing extremism" on issues such as voting, health care, environment and education. He defended his comment before an appearance Tuesday night in Charlotte.
"We believe leaders should not be echoes of the voice of extremism," he said. "The indignation should not be so much about the language. The indignation should be about the actions."