A local Republican group has distributed a newsletter picturing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on a fake $10 bill adorned with a watermelon, ribs and a bucket of fried chicken.
The drawing harked back to racist images from decades ago in America that featured caricatures of blacks eating watermelon and other Southern foods, often suggesting they were lazy or unclean.
Linking Obama, who is the first black presidential nominee of a major US political party, to such stereotypes drew denunciations from various Republican officials. The illustration appeared in the October newsletter of the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Thursday.
Diane Fedele, president of the group in San Bernardino County, near Los Angeles, said she had no racist intent.
"I never connected," she told the newspaper. "It was just food to me. It didn't mean anything else."
She apologized to anyone who was offended, saying: "That clearly wasn't my attempt."