NORFOLK -- "Mitt Romney, he's speaking to a population of this, segment of the population who does not like to see people other than a white man in the White House or any other elected position. Let's be real clear about it," State Senator Louise Lucas told John Fredericks on his show on WHKT AM 1650.
"We know what's going on here, and some people may be afraid to say it, but I'm not. I'm not afraid to say it. He's speaking to that fringe out there who do not want to see anybody other than a white person in a leadership position," Lucas added.
The program's host asked her to address Romney's criticism of President Obama's understanding of the economy. Romney believes his opponent doesn't grasp all that's involved, given the fact Mister Obama never worked in the private sector.
Fredericks asked, "Do you really believe, now, that this is still about race?"
Lucas, a Democrat from Portsmouth, responded, "I absolutely believe it's all about race, and for the first time in my life, I've been able to convince my children, finally, that racism is alive and well."
"We're off subject. We're off task. The issue right now are jobs and the economy," said Republican Chuck Smith.
Currently running for Virginia Beach City Council, Smith is a former chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia Beach. He also was the first member of the black community elected to head a Republican party in the Commonwealth.
"For anyone to imply that race is a number one issue for Americans, or for the citizens of Virginia Beach, or for Tidewater is ludicrous," Smith told 13News. "To say that there may be individuals inside of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Independent Party that have some deep-seeded views, that might be more accurate, but the voters are not concerned about the color of the President, or the color of the nominee of a party. They're concerned about what they stand for."
In a statement, Lucas offered some clarification to her comments on the radio show, writing: "I believe that we can all do better together to consider only the ability of a candidate to serve the people when we make decisions about who to support for public office...I do want to make clear my belief, however, that the overwhelming majority of Virginians will make a choice in this election based, not on race or any other factor, but on what they believe is best for their families and their futures."