Anatomy of a Republican back-peddle - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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Anatomy of a Republican back-peddle

And Dems open up a can of whine-ass:





Romney distances himself from KKK joke

November 10, 2005

BOSTON --Republican Gov. Mitt Romney was introduced as head of a state run by the "KKK ... the Kerry, Kennedy Klan" before a speech Thursday in Washington, words that sparked criticism from Massachusetts Democrats and a rebuke from Romney himself.

"It's not appropriate to joke about the Ku Klux Klan," Romney said in a phone interview from Washington after his luncheon address to the Federalist Society.

Romney branded the remarks "ill-advised" and "inappropriate."

Romney laughed along with the audience, The Boston Globe reported in a story for Friday's edition, and thanked the speaker for "a very generous introduction."

The governor insisted he wasn't really paying attention to the introduction.

"I was looking at my notes and preparing for my speech at the time," Romney said.

State Democratic Party chairman Phil Johnston, who has criticized Romney for making Massachusetts the butt of jokes as a liberal bastion during his out-of-state travel as he considers a run for president, said he was outraged that Romney could find any humor in the remarks referring to Sens. Edward Kennedy and John Kerry invoking the KKK.

"It is embarrassing that Gov. Mitt Romney would laugh at any joke that disparages Catholics, African Americans, and Jews," Johnston said. "This is just further evidence of the lengths this governor will go to ridicule the people of this state in order to advance his own political fortunes."

The Federalist Society is among the nation's most influential conservative legal organizations, an important constituency for Romney if he decides to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. Several senior members of the Bush administration are members.

In his speech, Romney also criticized the state's Supreme Judicial Court justices for legalizing gay marriage, saying the justices promoted their values and those of "their like-minded friends in the communities they socialize in," the Globe reported. It was not the first time Romney has criticized the ruling itself.

The introductory remarks were made by New York attorney Gerald Walpin, a member of the Federalist Society Board of Visitors, according to Keith Appell, a GOP consultant working for the Federalist Society. Walpin did not immediately respond to a telephone message left for him at the Federalist Society.

"Today when most of the country thinks of who controls Massachusetts, I think the modern day KKK comes to mind - the Kennedy, Kerry Klan," Walpin said, according to Appell, who reviewed a tape recording of the event.

Johnston said Romney should have denounced the reference to the KKK on the spot.

"Romney could have easily have pointed out the inappropriateness of the comment in his speech," said Johnston.

Romney said Johnston should address any criticism directly to Walpin.

"There's not much I can do about speakers who introduce me," said Romney. "(Johnston) should address his comments to the person making the introduction."

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