Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said Thursday that she doesn’t regret her role in a controversial eleventh-hour campaign spot that raised the specter of black voters once again “fighting off dogs and water hoses” if a Republican candidate were elected to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, reports the Journal-Constitution. In the ad for Democrat John Eaves, who won countywide election Tuesday to chairman of the board, Franklin said the civil rights work of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King, Hosea Williams and Maynard Jackson would be lost if Republicans were elected.
“That’s why we must stand up, and we must turn out the vote for the Democrats on election day,” Franklin said in the ad. Her lines were right after the more pointed remarks of U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.): “You think fighting off dogs and water hoses in the ’60s was bad? [Now we] sit idly by, and let the right-wing Republicans take control of the Fulton County Commission.” Civil rights stalwart Andrew Young also spoke in the ad, saying Republican rule would “turn back the clock on equal rights.” Bloggers, conservative radio and letters to the editor have labeled the ads as racially inflammatory.