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Hoekstra Ad Raising Questions Of Racism, Xenophobia

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A coalition of black ministers in Detroit is calling on U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra to apologize for his Super Bowl ad portraying a young Asian woman speaking in broken English.  The request came a day after an Asian-American group called the ad "very disturbing."

Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman who's vying for Debbie Stabenow's senate seat, ran a campaign ad depicting a woman with a straw hat bicycling through the Chinese countryside. The woman makes statements suggesting Stabenow supports overspending on policies that help China gobble up U.S. debt and jobs.

The Michigan Republican began taking heat after the Super Bowl ad ran statewide Sunday.

GOP consultant, Nick De Leeuw, flat-out scolded the Holland Republican. "Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement," De Leeuw wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. "Racism and xenophobia aren't any way to get things done."

Some detractors said it was racially insensitive, while national GOP consultant Mike Murphy tweeted that it was "really, really dumb."

The Michigan Democratic Party says the ad is hypocritical because the former congressman voted for higher federal debt limits and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) that bailed out failing banks.

Rev. Charles Williams II of Detroit's King Solomon Baptist church where Malcolm X once spoke said in a Monday release that the woman's broken English in the ad is no different than "having a black person speaking in slave dialect."

A Hoekstra spokesman said the ad was meant to be "satirical."

Hoekstra, speaking with reporters Monday morning, argued that the ad certainly "jump started" the debate on spending. (Read more here).

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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