Lee Atwater was one of the more brutal Republican political consultants of the 1980s. He worked for Reagan and H.W. Bush, and was at one point chairman of the Republican National Committee. Atwater is still revered by the College Republican National Committee, whose members are often taught his techniques.
There's an old interview with Atwater that has come to light in the last few days, and it's pretty much a confirmation of everything that Republicans try to argue isn't true about them with regards to race. Here it is:
h/t to NMissCommentor.com