Vicente Fox's comments enraged many Americans.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) -- President Vicente Fox's office on Tuesday insisted his comment that Mexicans work jobs blacks don't want in the United States was misinterpreted, a day after he told leaders in the U.S. black community that he regretted "any hurt feelings."
In a speech Friday, Fox praised the dedication of Mexicans working in the United States, saying they're willing to take jobs that "even blacks" won't do.
On Monday, he spoke with the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton by telephone and told them: "I regret any hurt feelings caused by my statements." (Full story)
The president maintains his comment was misinterpreted and a public apology is not forthcoming, presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said Tuesday.
"From the point of view of the president, the misinterpretation has been clarified with the affirmation by the president, with his repeated demonstrations of absolute respect for minorities, whatever their race, their ethnicity, their religion," Aguilar said.
On Monday, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher called the remark "very insensitive and inappropriate" and said the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City had raised the issue with the Mexican government.
But Aguilar said Mexico had received no formal complaint from the State Department, repeating the president's position that his remarks "were misinterpreted."
Asked whether an apology was on the way, Aguilar said "the point is closed."
Fox has invited Jackson and Sharpton to Mexico for talks aimed at improving the sometimes tense relationship between blacks and Hispanics in the United States. No date had been set.
The Mexican government delivered a diplomatic letter to the United States on Monday protesting laws requiring driver's license applicants to prove they are in the country legally and clearing the way for an extension of a border barrier wall along the California-Mexico border.
"This is an exaggeration," said Manuel Espino, leader of the conservative National Action Party. "There have been a lot harsher comments that come from north of the border, and we don't scream and shout about it."
Even Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the archbishop of Mexico City, criticized U.S. immigration policy as ridiculous and defended Fox's comments, saying: "The declaration had nothing to do with racism. It is a reality in the United States that anyone can prove."
While Mexico has a few, isolated black communities, the population is dominated by descendants of Mexico's Spanish colonizers and its native Indians.
I gotta go with Fox on this one: Many times I've driven by the vatos working on the highway in 91 degree Virginia heat, or have seen them working on a roof top at 100% humidity and said to myself that "You'd never catch my black ass up there slaving away."
Hell, I pay someone to cut my grass and clean my pool when it's nice out - that's what the money is for!
Jackson and Sharpton out to let this one slide, you'll never see them on the business end of a shovel either.
And you damn well know any American that is "enraged" by this comment has too much time on their hands.