Republicans lash out at Obama impersonator

Kunal Dutta
Monday 27 June 2011 00:00
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A Barack Obama doppelganger who was cut short and ushered off stage at a Republican conference moments before turning his attention to presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has received death threats from angry party supporters, it emerged yesterday.

Reggie Brown, who until last week was just another corporate entertainer with an impersonation of President Obama, was catapulted into the limelight after delegates failed to see the funny side of his anti-Republican material at a Republican leadership conference in New Orleans.

"There was one person who left a crazy voicemail, threatening me and my manager," Mr Brown told The Independent. "There are some crazy people out there. But hopefully what he said does not [transpire]. I'm not afraid. I'm going to get up there and do what I do."

The gathering in the deeply conservative state of Louisiana was designed to set the tone for the presidential bids for leading Republican candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Bachman.

Attendees, made-up largely of GOP aides and party members, appeared to be rolling in the aisles with his racially-tinged one-liners aimed at the president, including one referring to his birthplace of Hawaii, "or, as the Tea Partyers call it, Kenya".

"My favourite month is February, Black history month," he told audiences to hoots of laughter. "You see, Michele celebrates the full month, and I celebrate half."

But the laughs turned to boos when Brown began targeting Mitt Romney, Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty among the Republican presidential contenders, with the conference organiser turning off the microphone and escorting Brown from the stage just as he was set to attack Bachman, who officially launches her presidential bid today.

Mr Brown, whose father is African-American and mother is from Irish and Polish, disputes the statement released by the Republicans that said it had "zero tolerance for racially insensitive jokes".

"My mother's white and my father's black, so I feel comfortable delivering that kind of content and that's where comedy comes from."

On Saturday night, he appeared on HBO's Bill Maher Show to finish the act. "Now as I was saying... Michele Bachmann," he said to applause. "And you thought black women were scary."

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