The fight to have the Confederate flag, seen by many as a searing symbol of the South's racist past, removed from the South Carolina statehouse, has caught fire now that the state's Republican governor has made a bold call to take it down.

The demand for the flag to go surged after a young racist who wrapped himself in the flag killed nine black church members at "MotherEmanuel" A.M.E. Church,a Charleston house of worship that is rich in history and meaning for African-Americans.

Gov. Nikki Haley's tweet made her position clear: "July 4th is just around the corner. It will be fitting that our state Capitol will soon fly the flags of our country & state, and no others."

Haley, 43, is considered a rising star in the Republican party and on Mondaydid, as The Times said "whatjust a week ago seemed politically impossible."


Haley more than just tweeted her call. She held a news conference surrounded by Democratic and GOP lawmakers, black and white.

The state's two U.S. senators --Lindsey Graham, who is white, and Tim Scott, an African-American, backed Haley's call. Both are also Republican.

"It's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds," Haley said in Columbia, the state's capirtal city, about 100 miles from Charleston.

"The flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state."

The flag, she said, is a "deeply offensive symbol of a brutally offensive past" said Haley, who is Indian-American.
State lawmakers must officially vote on Haley's call and are expected to go along with it.

The fight over the flag has already become a hot topic in the GOP presidential primary. Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, considered a moderate, was among the first to say the flag belonged in a museum, not on a government building. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney agrees.

The more red meat, right wing Republicans have stayed relatively silent.

The fight against the Confederate flag has been going on throughout the south for years and the events in South Carolina could turn the tide, some pundits say.

In Alabama, the state allows the flag on automobile license plates.

On, political writer Charles J. Dean brings the issue home to his state, writing: "Isn't it time we stop making a license plate that features a flag that represents so many bad things? It is a flag that led armies intent on destroying the United States. It is a flag that represented an economic system based on a human evil – slavery. It is a flag that represents tyranny."

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