84 WHAS anchor calls Obama “half-breed”

On yesterday’s program 84 WHAS radio personality Mandy Connell referred to President Barack Obama as “a young half-breed man” during an on-air discussion. The conservative talk radio host was comparing America to socialist countries, and also mentioned Oprah Winfrey while arguing that people who grew up poor in the United States have a better chance at upward mobility.

Connell said:

“But America has allowed poor people like Oprah Winfrey to come from nothing and create a billion dollar media enterprise. At the same time, it has allowed a young half-breed man — and I say half-breed not in a derogatory way, it was just the first thing I thought of — to become president. Anything is accomplishable (sic) in the United States. Name any other country in the world where that is possible.”

LEO Weekly tried contacting 84 WHAS Operations Manager Kelly Carls, but he is out of town until Friday, and his assistant was unavailable for comment.

Back in March, Connell was hired to replace the late Francene Cucinello, and hosts the mid-morning show that leads into Rush Limbaugh every weekday on 84 WHAS.

The conservative radio personality is known to hold controversial views on a number of issues from illegal immigration to evolution, however, the response to the racial comments have already caused Connell to backpedal.

From The ‘Ville Voice:

Here’s what she had to say:

“The only thing I can do is express my embarrassment that was the phrase that came to mind and apologize for the offensive way I was trying to convey my point about the President’s mixed heritage. It was inappropriate, and truthfully, I was shocked when that tumbled out of my mouth. My only excuse is that when talking for three hours without the opportunity to choose words in advance, sometimes my brain doesn’t do the good or right thing. I am human.”


The reaction to Connell’s comments are pouring in, and local civil rights leaders are definitely concerned about the remarks.

“I think it was a very poor choice of words. I know she doesn’t care for Obama or his policies, but to refer to him as a half-breed is disrespectful of the office of president,” says Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham. “And racially, the term is derogatory in today’s society. It’s just not an acceptable term.”

The incident needs to be noted, Cunningham says, however he isn’t surprised given the station’s programming format. The civil rights leader say no protests or boycott of 84 WHAS should be held based on that one comment, but the radio station needs to be monitored more closely.

“It is radio at its worst,” he says. “Is that statement by itself something to go to war over or do you make note of it and hold the station accountable? And I believe we should bring it to their attention and see what happens from that point.”


  1. Steve Magruder
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    While bigotry is immoral, and I condemn any and every bit of it, I have to say I’m also incensed by Connell’s remarks that scream “American myth”.

    We need a kind of mythbusters any time anyone says that anyone can become an Oprah or rise to the heights of power that is the U.S. Presidency.

    No, anyone can’t rise up that high. Yes, one can work hard and do better for themselves that way, but there are no guarantees. And the rise of particular individuals to great heights has a lot more to do with 1) connections, and 2) luck than anything. Working hard doesn’t guarantee s**t.

    Not to mention the real bigotry that holds many people down — you can’t be a great worker and succeed if the people with the power and doing the hiring consider aspects like skin color.

    It’s high time to pop the American myth of “anyone can rise to the top” like the hot-air balloon it is.

  2. Puhn Tang
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Did the mongrel-in-chief take offense? How about the chit-chatters on The View, where President Obama called many Americans mongrels? Hell, everybody knows that mongrels make the best dogs. I

  3. Aletha Fields
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps Mandy should “show her papers” that declare her heritage/s. Out of the mouth speaks the abundance of the heart. While completely being disgusting, I am not surprised by this and as a biracial person, I don’t want to ever be referred to as a half-breed, like I’m some sort of an animal. And while the notion of black males as “animalistic” is certainly not new to American public discourse, her referring to the President in animalistic terms is not only offensive, it is downright cruel and deserves a harsh response from every civil rights organization in the listening public.

    I am definitely going to write a nasty-gram to WHAS, call the station manager, & continue to put this on blast via every media outlet available to me.
    I don’t listen to that trash station and got into action with them years ago when one of my professors (who happens to be a white male) addressed how the station offensively & insensitively portayed African-Amerian students who were protesting on UofL’s campus. He & I are jointly going to address this comment, though he currently serves as a professor at Kent State. I contacted him this morning & he is just as outraged as many of us are.

    Racial tensions are at another all-time high in America right now. We have DAILY evidence of this is our community, such as the truck with KKK sprayed on it that was parked on a West end neighborhood street. And not to mention the nasty nasty racially charged commentary pouring forth from the right wing & its various pulpits, to include churches.

  4. stu noland
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The term half-breed is a poor choice of words because it is more appropriate in the context of animals. I’m sure she was just letting her contempt for Obama and his policies effect her choice of words. I don’t seriously think she believes African-Americans are sub-human. More disturbing is Mandy Connel’s lack of understanding in basic economics. Economic mobility, the degree to which an individuals economic standing is correlated to their upbring can be quantified. Last time I checked the U.S. ranked 14th in economic mobility. Not bad but nothing to brag about. Just because a few people became billionaires after being raised in poverty doesn’t mean that we have created a society in which one’s success is not highly dependent on their origins. After WWII income inequality went down every year until 1979. Since then it has gone up every year and we have now returned to an income distribution model similar to that of the industrial revolution’s heyday.

  5. Steven Bennett
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    “Name any other country in the world where that is possible.”



  6. Anon Ymous
    Posted August 5, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    “Get over it” is what I say. So what she used a term that is not very classy… To err is human so cut some slack. I get what she was saying. I man of mixed heritage becoming the leader of a nation… That is pretty uncommon… Stop snowballing this issue to pursue your own agenda and let it go… Everyone says stuff sometimes thats not very nice… Even the President!

  7. Monica Roberts
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    Love the people wallowing in vanilla flavored privilege who are too scared to put their names on their disrespectful comments.’

    African-Americans and other people of color are sick and tired of white conservative people who comfortably and consistently make bigoted and borderline racist comments, especially those who do so on the radio and television airwaves.

    Then y’all have the nerve to get your backs up when African-Americans and our allies we call you on it.

    You don’t as part of the dominant ethnic group with long negative history in this regard get to tell my community what we should and should not be upset over.

  8. Erik
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    To Monica Roberts…

    I guess you don’t think liberal talking heads or politicians have ever made a racial remark. I seem to recall the House majority leader, Harry Reid comparing slavery to government run health care. Also, I seem to recall a Senate leader by the name of Robert Byrd. He was an avid KKK member before delving into politics.

    Both of these guys apologized. I doubt you are still outraged over their comments. Likewise, Mrs. McConnell apologized. So why can’t you let that go? Is it because you don’t agree with their political philosophy? Therefore, your willingness to not accept the apology and move on is based in the same guise in which the original comments were made…. a politcally motivated agenda.

    Just sayin’

    I don’t condone Mrs. Connells’ comments. But, lets have some perspective. Racism is not soley a conservative trait. There is plenty of racism on both sides of the aisle. There is no need to turn the bigger issue of racism and bigotry into picking sides in the convoluted world of politics.

  9. Helen Deines
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Everyone has a right to their beliefs and freedom of speech. My complaint is with WHAS, which gives Mandy a podium to sow seeds of divisiveness and disrespect. She obviously does not care about lifting the entire community up, improving Louisville for all, building a shining city on a hill.

    No, she thrives on tearing people down, tossing people to the side of the road, belittling their dreams, closing doors to opportunities, forgetting the shoulders of the elders who paved the way for her,

    She is both ignorant and sorrowful. Pray for her, that she opens herself to the new heart and wisdom the Divine One always offers.

  10. PWD
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Connell’s remark did not “slip out”. Derogatory remarks of that type are indicative of a habit and pattern of thinking and speaking. She needs to be FIRED.

  11. Puhn Tang
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    America, hell yeah. I’m offended. I’m insulted. I’m hungry. Bunch of pussies.

  12. Paolo Presta
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    While Mandy Connell has a right to here thoughts and speech. A person in the public eye also must take responsibility for what they say. Do I believe for a moment that she did not mean it how it came out, I do not. From what I have known about 99% of the right wing folks I’ve met I have no doubt she was being honest in her belief about the President. It’s just the same old conservative drill. Her apology wouldn’t seem so hollow were it not for the typically statements toward liberals.

  13. Monica Roberts
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Since you brought up Sen. Harry Reid, he doesn’t have a history of insensitive remarks and he also has an ‘A’ rating on the NAACP Legislative Report card.

    So yep, Sen Reid gets forgiveness because he’s not actively working to impede the social and economic progress of my community or demonizing it.

    That’s more than I can say for conservatives, who can be counted on on an almost daily basis to say something stupid , racist and insensitive or work to roll back whatever meager progress we make in American society.

    And no Erk.. Sociology 101 teaches us that racism equals prejudice plus power.

    Everyone can be prejudiced or bigoted. Racism is the dominant ethnic group taking that prejudice, infusing it with power (social, political, economic, police military, and sexual) and using it to retard, roll back or impede the progress of a minority group.

    Since you ignored the main thrust of my earlier comment, let me break it down for you one more time:

    You don’t as part of the dominant ethnic group with a long negative history in this regard get to tell my community what we should and should not be upset over.

  14. Just Sayin'
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Commenter # 1 -
    You sound like you’re 43 and live at home with yo’ momma!

    Get real Stevie.
    You wear your gay chevron on your shoulder and dare anyone to comment on it!

    Connell simply made a verbal mistake in this hypersensitive media environment in which we all live today.

    Truly FREE speech is tolerated speech. I don’t have to like what you say, but for me to even suggest that you need to be censored or sanctioned for your right of FREE SPEECH is utterly insane in a real democracy.

    But maybe those who want sanctions for utterances that they disagree with is clearly more in line with totalitarianism, something the “Chosen One” definitely wants.

    Ah, Stevie, you have so much to learn. Get you own place and get away from Mom for a few years.

  15. Trystan Dean
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Half-breeds and bastards unite! I don’t know my genetics, because I was adopted at birth, but I’m definitely an “American bastard!” And I’ll stand with the rest of America’s motley crew against racism and bigotry till the day I day. Molly grow up! We don’t say the first thing that pops into our head, we think about it first, and decide whether it’s appropriate. From “Adulthood for dummies 101.”

  16. Puhn Tang
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m offended and outraged by all of the name calling on Monica Roberts’ blog. I think she should be..well.. sumpin’.

  17. Polar
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    WHAS once was the best station in Louisville, and was heard by people in 40+ states. Cawood Ledford and Milton Metz were but a couple of the class people who were longtime hosts. Then, the Binghams sold it,and it started its downhill slide. I haven’t listened to it since they replaced Joe Elliott with the worst talk radio host in America (Michael ‘Savage” Weiner) ,so the fact that WHAS’ latest mismanagement team would hire a racist reactionary twit with no connections to Louisville, is no surprise.

  18. Monica Roberts
    Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    If you conservatives are so certain your political philosophy is superior to liberalism, why are you ashamed to attach your names to your bigoted opinions?

    Repeating once again for the conservailliterate:

    You don’t as part of the dominant ethnic group with a long negative history in this regard get to tell my community what we should and should not be upset over.

  19. Steve Magruder
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Just Sayin’, I know who you are. Are you ready to be “outed”?

    Besides, as always, 1) You don’t know what you’re talking about; and 2) Calling out people on what you think is their privates lives is “so high school”.

    I suggest you grow up before I put you in a position that requires you to grow up, and fast.

  20. Steve Magruder
    Posted August 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    There is nothing about free speech that requires anyone to tolerate _destructive_ speech. Tolerating a political view we don’t agree with is one thing, but a comment that seeks divisiveness and worse, violence, should always be pounced upon. This kind of speech simply isn’t welcome in a civil society.

    Even though I am willing to give Mandy a transactional pass in exchange for her apology, the incident raises two key issues:

    1) If this was the first keyword that came to her mind about President Obama, this speaks volumes about a natural derogatory thought process toward non-whites, even if she learns her lesson, and doesn’t go there again.

    2) Why on earth did 84WHAS even consider bringing in an individual from somewhere else to headline a show that people would expect to cover relevant local matters? And somebody so right-wing? How does this reflect what Louisville is and what Louisville needs? This incident is certainly a reflection of this poor decision by the station.

  21. Monica Roberts
    Posted August 9, 2010 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    @Erik…Sen Robert Byrd not only repudiated the Klan, as you conservative people continue to ignore. he also averaged an ‘A’ rating on the NAACP Legislative Report Card.

    By comparison, Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning…’F’

  22. pieareround
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    She was scientifically accurate but politically incorrect. As was the reverse when the US Census dictated that anyone 50/50 was automatically black. Both are equal. Do the math, 50/100 = 50/100. I would say scientifically his breeding smacks more of a mongrel than half-breed myself. Dogs (other than mutts) have papers proving their lineage. Unlike Obama’s birth certificate. Live by the sword…

  23. Steve Magruder
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    pieareround, cut it out.


  24. I wish I was Vanilla
    Posted August 18, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Monica called us vanilla? i take offense to that comment. i guess that could be taken a racial slur?

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  29. Justin
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I miss Francene!

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  32. dennis
    Posted April 24, 2011 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    free speech these days are such as what the correct people are going to allow you to speak.they wont have you speak your mind if it does not follow the truth of the collective. you must think in the proper fashion. you will think as they decree and you will be eliminated from the thought collective if you deviate from it. you will fall in line or things might get complicated. thought of any kind that deviates from the collectives shall not be permitted, it is your duty as one of the brotherhood to stay on course and all those who will not concede to the big brothers thoughts shall be eliminated. follow all things that you were told to do by our fine leaders, they know all that is best for you, give up all your rights as an individual and join us comrade we and my big brother know best. hail to the chief for he is well known and is god like, even though those of us who know better are willing to go out with a fight

  33. dennis
    Posted April 24, 2011 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    talking is a fine thing to do, even when it pisses folks off. my last post was almost tongue in cheek. the truth rings like a bell when you want want to hear it. i sit and wait for folks to wake up and smell the coffee its one thing to bust your ass trying to make ends meet, you need to do this and you get tired and watch a sports game after work to unwind with a 6 pack those a holes in washington are going to bust your chops, oops too tired to think of it? when they take all that you have and tax you into oblivion when will you start caring? at what point will you care?

  34. Randall Hawkins
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Why is this news? There was no ill intent, this is what causes the dividing lines between races; making large issues over a poor judgement of word usage, that is all it is and she has apologized. And Raoul Cunningham needs to find a real job that has a purpose, it’s like these people (activist) just sit around waiting for a reason for their name to shine.

  35. Ray
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    This is CRAZY!!! Mrs. Connel has a very informative and level headed opinion of most of the issues facing our city, state, and region. There have been several people talking about her conservative opinion that obviously have no clue! She is an “independent” she has stated this on many occasions on her show. I think those of you who are bitching about her comment and wanting her to be fired either 1) live in a perfect world where no one ever slips and puts their foot in their mouth, or 2) are just mad that she said on a public radio station what you think and are too chicken shit to say yourself.

  36. Ray
    Posted August 13, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    You know, I’m just sayin :-)

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  1. [...] basis.The controversy has already stirred up progressive Louisville and hit the pages of the LEO and other local alternative media outlets. This was what I had to say on the LEO’s comment [...]