August 31st, 2008
08:06 PM ET
6 years ago

Dem apologizes for joking about hurricane

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A YouTube video shows Fowler joking about Gustav.
A YouTube video shows Fowler joking about Gustav.

(CNN) - Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler apologized Sunday for recently joking Hurricane Gustav's expected landfall on the same day as the opening of the Republican National Convention suggested God was on the Democrats' side.

A YouTube video of the comments posted by the conservative blog RedState.org and showed Fowler joking with South Carolina Rep. John Spratt about the timing of the hurricane while on a flight from the Democratic National Convention back to South Carolina. The person who filmed the conversation is not identified.

“The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side,” Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that “everything’s cool.”

Speaking to the Associated Press Sunday, Fowler said his comments were intended to make light of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's remark that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was God's punishment for abortion and homosexuality.

On Sunday, Fowler told The Associated Press that he was making fun of comments made by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said the attacks were God's punishment for abortion, homosexuality and other sins.

"I don't believe in a God that's vengeful," Fowler said. "I believe in a God that's compassionate."

"This is a point of national concern. I think everybody of good will has great empathy and sympathy for people in New Orleans," Fowler also said. "Most religious people are praying for people in New Orleans. There is no political connotation to this whatsoever. This was just poking fun at Jerry Falwell and the nonsensical thing he had said several years ago."

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson sharply criticized Fowler's comments, saying, “The outrageous behavior of two of the Obama campaign's highest profile supporters in the south is despicable, a cynical polarization of life and death. I call on Barack Obama to immediately denounce Fowler and Spratt and demand sincere apologies from these members of the Democratic leadership.”


Filed under: Extra • Uncategorized
soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. Mary in CT

    Oh, good. More denouncing. Do we really want to start with this again?

    August 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. Sam, GA

    What about when McCain said (several months ago) "...... we will never have to go to war for oil again ....."

    I denounce John McWarmonger !!!!

    August 31, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. bo

    oh big deal. besides, it religious leaders who blamed an upcoming gay pride parade in new orleans for Katrina.

    he was just poking fun at the timing of it – he wasn't saying that the hurricane was somehow a joke.

    get over it.

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  4. Wake UP America

    I have so much respect for the McCain and the Republicans who are putting American's first! After what this DNC has done throughouth this entire primary campaign and the convention, they are getting lower and lower on my list. This just bumped them down another notch!

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. It will be President Obama

    Oh, there was no problem when Repub's were wishing for rain on The Dem Convention. Obama/Biden '08/12

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Joe Reg

    It is just a joke!

    come on people, why being so serious. It was meant to be fun.

    Landslide Obama.

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Dance the dance - don't be stupid

    It is ironic, but in no way funny. He should know better. It IS IMPORTANT to remember and acknowledge GW failures and the consequences we live with today: war, mispent FEMA $$$, handouts to oil and military industrial complex, historic foreclosures, # of people going bankrupt over healthcare, etc... Where was McCain and his party? Dems could have done more. We need change and Obama is it.

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. Steve

    Another piggy, Democrat, making fun of a situation on the Obama camp end, as always, along with Biden and Obama commenting on Palin's looks...Democratic party is the stupidest, male chauvenistic, elitist party in America and it should be broken up after this election...Obama and his crappy campaign, male chauvenistic, poking fun at disasters-people...can't wait to see them lose this election by a landslide!

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Sarah

    I don't believe they were being insensitive and wishing bad things for the people affected. It was more a case of "be careful what you wish for" because weren't some Republicans wishing that it would rain on "Obama's parade" and now their convention is disrupted because of the approaching hurricane.

    One thing has nothing to do with the other and don't start mischaracterizing the whole thing – it's just a fact that if the hurricane descended on New Orleans it would affect the convention.

    August 31, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Liddy

    the democrat mind is a scary thing.

    August 31, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    It was in poor taste, however until McCain denounces some of his swift bost ads, the remark was apologized for, and that is more than enough! Another Republican smokescreen at work.

    August 31, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  12. A house divided

    What a bad effect Obama has had on the democrats- and he is still ONLY campaigning.

    Since when do democrats joke about the misery and suffering of others? Oh yeah, since the Obama strong-armed his way into the scene.

    Since when do democrats hate other democrats and ridicule, mock and jeer them? Oh yeah, since Obama inspired millions to hope and unity via a strategy of vitriol and disrespect.

    Michael Moore is guilty of the same insensitivity and glibness the democrats have criticized Bush and Cheney for.

    This is the OBAMAnation.

    It is a sorry day for the democratic party.

    We will never again unite after this horrible travesty this year.

    August 31, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. John from LA

    IDIOTS!!!!-and this is the party of CHANGE-sounds like something the Reps would say-and BO is the head Idiot!!!

    August 31, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  14. Jack

    What an idiot.

    August 31, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. A house divided

    CNN you are too biased to post the truth:

    What a bad effect Obama has had on the democrats- and he is still ONLY campaigning.

    Since when do democrats joke about the misery and suffering of others? Oh yeah, since the Obama strong-armed his way onto the scene.

    Since when do democrats hate other democrats and ridicule, mock and jeer them? Oh yeah, ever since Obama inspired millions to hope and unity via a strategy of vitriol and disrespect.

    Michael Moore and many Obama followers are guilty of the same insensitivity, disrespect and glibness that the democrats have criticized Bush and Cheney for.

    This is the OBAMAnation.

    It is a sorry day for the democratic party.

    We will never again unite after this horrible travesty this year.

    August 31, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  16. Generation X

    No need to apologise. God is compasionate but when you have republicans praying like hell so that rain disrupts Obama's momination speech and then bam, a huge hurricane competing with RNC news, it makes you wonder! We all pray that all lives be saved and property damage minimized. But the Republicans will have to share the stage with Gustav. You see, the great Shakespeare once wrore: "he evil that men do live after them, so let it be with..." in this case, the Republicans.

    August 31, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  17. Vince

    If I'm not mistaken the Rev James Dobson or someone form his group put out a video asking all of it's members to pray that it rained when Obama gave his speech. It appears that they are reaping what they tried to sow on someone else.

    August 31, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  18. Mike

    Today on FOX. McBush desperatly tried to defend Palin on her complete lack of experience. I could hardly believe my ears when mcOld stammered, well she has served on the PTA board! Well then!
    Better watch out Putin. The PTA Lady is coming to face you down.

    August 31, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. Mistica

    Oh please, give me a break. The republicans get all self-righteous over everything. When the temperature was 85F in the middle of August for the Houston republican convention I would have sworn God was a republican. I said today he must have switched parties. Even he wouldn't want 4 more years of the same.

    August 31, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Nana

    why should they apologize? the republicans have done and said worse and nobody apologized

    over 4000 dead in iraq based on a lie......let them apologize for that!

    August 31, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  21. Jon

    As once again, people are to PC to accept their fate.

    Fowler needs to read her Bible. The God of the Old Testament was wrathful, no? Sodom and Gomorrah anyone?

    Never mix religion and politics...

    August 31, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. cindy

    No worse than that guy from Focus on the Family calling the rain down on the Democratic Convention.

    August 31, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. Mike Whitehead from WV

    I wouldn't utter one word of apology. It seems to be ok when a Republican makes derogatory comments about democratic social issues, but not when a democrat makes a joke. Get a life Republicans. No one was serious about the remark - it was a joke!! Get over it!!

    August 31, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. Moderate and Balanced

    Listening to this you immediately know that he was not making fun or even referrencing somebody else....he was saying the same thing Michael Moore was saying and it's pathetic. Democrats are always committing the sin and then lying saying Republicans are doing it. He should apologize to the thousands of people who are going to be suffering and he should admit that he "inhaled".

    August 31, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. Peter E

    Disgusting! Plain disgusting!

    August 31, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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