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Stigall Addresses Condoleezza Rice’s Withdraw from Rutgers Commencement

(credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for TIME)

(credit: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for TIME)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chris Stigall addressed the controversy at Rutgers University after protests by student and faculty groups led former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to withdraw as the school’s commencement speaker.

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Chris Stigall On Condoleezza Rice's Withdrawal From Rutgers Commencement

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Stigall believes a double standard exists that tolerates protests against Rice because she’s a Republican, rather than a Democrat.

“There hasn’t been a week that’s gone by since Barack Obama’s became candidate — never mind President, candidate for President — that those of us that have been critical of him have not been tied somehow to it being racist. Not a single week in the national dialogue goes by without someone out there, big or small, chiefly guys like Chris Matthews, who regularly assert our criticism of Barack Obama is rooted in bigotry and racism,” he said.

He concluded that it should be assumed that protesters of Rice are also acting out of the same prejudice.

“You’re only left to conclude that an accomplished black woman being run out of a commencement address is rooted in racism,” Stigall stated.

Stigall also commented that Rice would be treated differently, as a woman, if she were a Democrat instead of a Republican.

“Allyson Schwartz, one of the most liberal Democrats in the country, Kathleen Kane before her. What do they run on? What’s Hillary Clinton going to run on? We’re told repeatedly, because they’re women, that, first and foremost, they deserve your vote.”

Stigall said politics, above all else, is why Rice was targeted by activists at the university.

“Because she’s on the wrong side politically, then all of the sudden, it’s content of character with these people. They’re adorably hypocritical,” he explained.

Former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean will replace Rice at the May 18th commencement.

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