On Wednesday, former President Barack Obama demanded that South Carolina television stations immediately stop running an ad that uses his words to mislead voters about his former Vice President. According to the Washington Post, the ad was paid for by a super PAC that supports Donald Trump.

In the television spot, Obama’s voice can be heard narrating a passage from his 1995 book, Dreams From My Father. The Committee to Defend the President edited the ad to make it seem as if Obama’s words, which were from a conversation he had with a barber in Chicago, were specifically used to describe 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden. The passage discusses “plantation politics,” Black communities being disappointed by Democratic politicians, and taking the Black vote for granted.

The ads, according to an Obama spokesperson, are being used to sow division within the Democratic party, and confuse voters in the “First in the South” primary state. Biden has long been considered a frontrunner in the state, and a favorite among African American voters. On Tuesday the 2020 hopeful received a boost from Congressman Jim Clyburn when the prominent Black South Carolinian endorsed him for the presidency.

ESSENCE is on the ground in South Carolina and was present at the National Action Network breakfast where candidate Joe Biden sang Clyburn’s praises. Moments later the two held a press conference where Biden secured the coveted endorsement.

candidate Joe Biden
Presidential candidate Joe Biden addresses a room of faith leaders at the National Action Network breakfast in North Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Tanya A. Christian for ESSENCE)

“I know Joe Biden. I know his character, his heart, and his record. Joe Biden has stood for the hard-working people of South Carolina. We know Joe. But more importantly, he knows us,” the House Majority Whip tweeted following the announcement.

Presidential candidates are currently canvassing The Palmetto State in a last-ditch effort to win over Democratic voters. The South Carolina primary will take place on Saturday. It is the first primary to include a large number of African American voters. 

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