Ex-CNN's Franken: Romney Painted NAACP as 'Willie Hortons,' 'Grand Dragon' Limbaugh Wants Jim Crow Return

Appearing as a panel member on Sunday's Melissa Harris-Perry show, syndicated columnist and former CNN correspondent Bob Franken obnoxiously accused Mitt Romney of trying to portray the NAACP audience he spoke to as "Willie Hortons" whom he could use to motivate his Republican base. He went on to claim that Rush Limbaugh, whom he called the "grand dragon of radio," represents people who wish to return to Jim Crow segregation in America.

After fellow panel member and MSNBC contributor Joy Reid charged that Romney attended the NAACP convention to impress moderate white voters and also to motivate his conservative base, Franken began:

(Video can be found here.)

Well, I share your analysis that he was trying to fire up the base and was using props. I think that what he was trying to say to the base - and this will be a bit provocative, you know how I hate that - what he was saying to the base is that he was talking to a room full of Willie Hortons

That that was what he was trying to do, in the same way this Willie Horton name was used, as you know, earlier in our political history, our troubled political history, as evidenced by the fact that the, his immediate reaction from the grand dragon of radio, by whom I mean Rush Limbaugh, tracked that.

After host Harris-Perry, impressed with hearing Limbaugh called a "grand dragon," exclaimed, "Wow!", Franken continued:

He does speak for the people among the conservatives who wish for a return to the good old days of Jim Crow. That is what he was doing, and he was doing it, I think, in a very passive aggressive way.