The rapper known as Pras has put up $250,000 for radio and online ads in support of President Barack Obama, part of a campaign to encourage young, black men to vote.
A radio spot that Pras’ super-political action committee, Black Men Vote, began airing today on a hip-hop station in Cleveland highlights a Republican commentator calling Obama’s actions “dumb” and “lazy” and labels the remarks “disrespect.”
Prakazrel Michel, who listed an address in Coconut Creek, Florida, was the lone funder of Black Men Vote, giving $250,000 on Sept. 7, Federal Election Commission records show. Michel also contributed $2,500 last month to Obama’s reelection effort.
Pras, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill comprise the musical group the Fugees. Pras also has put out solo albums and lived briefly on Los Angeles’ Skid Row to make a documentary about homelessness.
Black Men Vote got active earlier this month, putting up a Web site and making radio and Internet ads, FEC records show. An e-mail to an address listed in FEC documents wasn’t immediately answered.
The group’s Web site says its goal is to mobilize 18- to 34-year-old black men in Ohio and Virginia. “Collectively this population can have a tremendous impact on the election and has the most to lose by staying at home,” the site says.
The radio ad airing in Cleveland knits together several comments by former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, a surrogate for Mitt Romney, and a remark on food stamps that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich made while he was trying to win this year’s Republican presidential primary.
“This is what the Republicans think about President Obama,” a male narrator says at the beginning of the spot.
“Can you imagine how dumb this president is?” Sununu says.
Then: “The president revealed his incompetence, how lazy and detached he is.”
(There’s no context in the ad. Sununu made the “dumb” comment during a July 12 interview on Fox News about why the Obama campaign was questioning Romney’s tenure at the private-equity company he founded. Sununu’s “lazy” remark, during a MSNBC interview Oct. 4, was a criticism of Obama’s debate performance the previous night.)
The clip package in the ad wraps with Gingrich, who lost to Romney in the primary, calling Obama “the best food-stamp president in American history.” That was from a January primary debate in South Carolina.
“It’s disrespect,” the narrator says in the ad. “It’s not right. And if they think these things about President Obama — what do they think about you?”
Next comes a call to vote for Obama, with the narrator saying “black men, it’s time to stand up for ourselves.”
The ad concludes with Romney.
“If you don’t vote, Mitt Romney may win, and we will have to hear more comments like this.” Cue Romney’s nod to the Obama “birther” issue while he was campaigning in August in his home state of Michigan:
“No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”