Stacey Dash, best known for her role as Dionne in the 1995 teen film "Clueless," says she is "shocked" about the online "fury" expressed by scores of people regarding her recent endorsement of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
The 45-year-old actress and mother of two had Tweeted on Sunday, a month before the November election: "Vote for Romney. The only choice for your future. @mittromney @teamromney #mittromney #VOTE #voteromney," attaching a photo of herself in a skimpy red tank top standing in front of an American flag backdrop.
Scores of people later slammed her on Twitter over the post, including many who wished her to "die" and some who made racial comments. Dash, who is also known for her past role on the VH1 show "Single Ladies," is half black and half Mexican, according to Latina.com. U.S. president Barack Obama is half black. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is white.
Dash says she voted for Obama in the 2008 election. She addressed several critics personally on Twitter and also appeared on the CNN show "Piers Morgan Tonight" to talk about her changed political views. She said that she does not understand the "fury" regarding her public messages of support for Romney.
"I don't get it," she told Piers Morgan. "I'm shocked, saddened - not angry, saddened and shocked, really shocked but you know what? You can't expect everyone to agree with you."
"I chose him to by the color of his skin but by the content of his character," the actress added, adding that she changed her political views and plans to vote for Romney "because of the state of the country."
The United States plunged into a recession, spurred by a housing bust, less than a year before Obama was elected. He had said in October 2008, a month before he was chosen to lead the country, that the United States was "in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression." Romney, a multi-millionaire, has blamed the president for not doing enough to boost the economy.
"I want the next four years to be different and I believe him," Dash said about the Republican candidate in her interview with Morgan. "I've watched him for a while and then when I watched him, the governor and his wife, on 'Meet The Press' with David Gregrory, they spoke to me and they seemed authentic and genuine in what they said about this country and the need for us to be united and move forward and really bring up our economy, make money."
Romney had said on the NBC program in September: "The reason I'm in this race is to help people. I'm not in this race to slow the rise of the oceans or to heal the planet. I'm in this race to help the American people. And this is a commitment on my part, on Ann's part, on our family's part, because we care very deeply about this country."
"I really think ... that those people that try and minimize the-- the feeling and the connection we have with the American people really miss the mark very badly and are trying to divide Americans based on who has money and who was able to achieve success and who does not have as much," he added. "And frankly, Americans are not defined by whether they were successful financially or not. We're a nation that has come together and a United America can solve that kind of challenges we have today."
Dash also told Morgan that one of her children, her 22-year-old son Austin, is "an Obama man," which is "fine."
"I love him for it," she said. "I love the fact that he's involved, that he cares, that he's 22 and, you know, he has a point of view about his country. That's important."
The backlash over Dash's Romney endorsement and its connection to race was discussed on the ABC panel talk show "The View" on Wednesday. Co-host and executive produce Barbara Walters asked: "Is this because it's expected that all black people will be Democrats?
"No, it's because people have gotten so solidified in left and right that they've forgotten that there's a middle," replied co-star Whoopi Goldberg. "I don't know that it's about race because what I've discovered on Twitter is not everyone who says they are what they are, is what they are. I think a lot of this is people sitting around who forgot who we are as a nation."
Meanwhile, Dash has been in contact with Romney's running mate Paul Ryan, who is set to take part in the first vice presidential debate with current vice president Joe Biden on Thursday.
"@PaulRyanVP thank you for your call today, I wish you Godspeed on Thursday," Dash Tweeted.
"Had a great conversation with @REALStaceyDash this afternoon," Ryan Tweeted on Tuesday. "Thank you for your support!"
"Yes, thank you," Dash replied.