The Ticket

Politico suspends reporter over Romney race comments

Eric Pfeiffer
The Ticket

Politico has suspended White House correspondent Joe Williams over comments suggesting that Mitt Romney is more "comfortable" around white people.

Williams, who is African-American, made the comments during a Thursday appearance on Martin Bashir's MSNBC program. During the appearance, Williams discussed how he believes Romney appears more "comfortable" appearing on Fox News Channel, as opposed to other outlets, and implied that race is a factor:

"Romney is very, very comfortable, it seems, with people who are like him. That's one of the reasons why he seems so stiff and awkward in town hall settings, why he can't relate to people other than that," Williams said during the appearance. "But when he comes on 'Fox and Friends,' they're like him. They're white folks who are very much relaxed in their own company."

In the announcement on Williams' suspension, Politico writes:

"Regrettably, an unacceptable number of Joe Williams's public statements on cable and Twitter have called into question his commitment to this responsibility," POLITICO's founding editors John Harris and Jim VandeHei wrote in a memo to the staff. "His comment about Governor Romney earlier today on MSNBC fell short of our standards for fairness and judgment in an especially unfortunate way."

Politico says Williams has been suspended while editors Harris and VandeHei review the matter.

Big Journalism correspondent John Nolte also chronicles some off-color past tweets from Williams that have targeted Romney. And the Washington Post's Erik Wemple says a source at Politico tells him the paper asked Williams to "cool it" with his opinionated tweets back in May.

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