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POLITICS: PennAve

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel: Elements of the GOP base are 'motivated by racism'

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel said Sunday that Republican racial animus was to blame for several controversies dogging Congress and the White House.

Not all the GOP is racist, said the New York Democrat in charge of electing Democrats to the House of Representatives, but “to a significant extent the Republican base does have elements that are motivated by racism.”

Israel was responding to a question from host Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union" program regarding comments from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday.

Following a contentious showdown between Attorney General Eric Holder and House GOP members regarding the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political nonprofit groups, Pelosi was asked if Republicans' treatment of Holder was related to race.

Pelosi said then that "it's a very difficult subject to talk about. I think race has something to do with the fact that they're not bringing up an immigration bill. I've heard them say to the Irish, if it were just you, this would be easy."

Israel said Sunday that there were 190 Democrats ready to join Republicans on a vote on an immigration measure "today.”

"All we need is 20 Republicans to vote on that bill, and it will become law,” said Israel.

Israel's counterpart on the National Republican Congressional Committee, Greg Walden of Oregon, denied that Republicans were racist, saying that they instead they just want "the truth" regarding scandals such as the one involving the IRS and the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

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