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A South Carolina Republican state Senator called the President of the United States a ‘raghead’ and used the same slur against a candidate for that state’s governor but now claims the whole thing was just a joke.
Sen. Jake Knotts apologized for the slurs and said they were meant ‘in jest.”
Knotts, appearing on “Pub Politics,” an Internet-based political talk show, said “We’ve already got a raghead in the White House, we con’t need another raghead in the governor’s mansion.”
Besides Obama, Knotts was referring to Nikki Haley, a State Representative, running for governor. Haley is of Indian descent.
In a prepared statement, Knotts said “bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radion show that is broadcast from a pub. It’s like a local political version of Saturday Night Live, which is actually where the joke came from.”
But Knott’s “joke” did not leave other laughting.
Tim Pearson, Haley’s campaign manager, said Knotts is “an embarassment to our state and to the Republican Party,” adding that the State Senator “represents all that is wrong with South Carolina politics.”
Phil Bailey, co-host of Pub Politics and director of the South Carolina Democratic Caucus, said he was “appalled by the comments” by Knotts.
Karen Floyd, chair of the state Republican Party, called on Knotts to apologize.
“The South Carolina Republican Party strongly condemns any use of racial or religious slurs,” she said.