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.”


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soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. PatriotPatrick

    COME ON! SOMEBODY ANSWER ME... HOW CAN PALIN RUN FOR OFFICE WHILE UNDER INVESTIGATION??? WHAT IF SHE'S FOUND GUILTY? tHE RNC JUST SWEEPS THAT UNDER THE CARPET???

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  2. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    Oh please. If each of us have to denounce every one in our lives that says something that is either inappropriate or misinterpreted, we'll all be pretty lonely people.

    And is there no privacy anywhere in the world any more?

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  3. ww5

    if obama is truly a god, he will divert the hurricanr back out to seas. otherwise, he is a false god and will be vanquished in the election

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Kay, Texas

    This is outrageous and trivial. Several Republican, McCain Aides and Evangelicals publicly said they prayed that Obama's speech would be rained out or a tornado would destroy the outdoor speech. Talk about that. I can't lie. I also found it ironic that they said the timing, announcement and decision of the Palin pick was to steal Obama's thunder from his speech ... and 1 day later ... All the news coverage is poised on the storm Gustav, not ... Ms Palin. So please .. as McCain always says .... 'You got to keep your sense of humor'. My prayers go out to the Gulf Coast families ... but Repubs get no sympathy in this!

    August 31, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. Caryl

    Seems to me that I remember one of the GOP supporters, a minister, asking that his people and GOP members pray for rain on the stadium in Denver when Obama was delivering his speech....

    Guess what....! Ir will rain – but not on Obama

    I remember being taught as a child never to pray for something that would hurt another person and of course the possible consequence was that the 'bad' thought would return to you....

    August 31, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. Lourdes

    OH PLEASE. Are these the same republicans praying for rain on the day of Obama's speech?

    August 31, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    What if he is right?

    August 31, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  8. cann

    Dear A house divided

    I missed your post when Stuart Shepard of Focus on Family Action called for a national prayer vigil to ask God for rain of Bibilical proportions on the last night at of the DNC convention. But as it turns out, you lucked up ... Bush and Cheney are no-shows tomorrow night.

    Are you relieved or disappointed ?

    August 31, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  9. janetj

    Obama is not liable for everyone on the democratic party. Obama just took control on Thursday. These people are grown and entitled to there own opinion. Now if it was his campaign staff yes he shoud Denounce.
    I must admit it was a poor choice of words and that person stands alone. because all democrate don't think alike. personelly I am praying for everyone.

    August 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  10. Ronald

    This is politics why is Obama's name even being brought up? The two men made a poor decision and as men they should be responsible for explaining their own words. Going down this road you need to ask what is a bigger travesty? The GOP controlled hourse, senate a executive branches utter failure in dealing with Katrina. Pictures of the current president and the GOP nominee cutting into a birthday cake and celebrating as Katrina hit landfall is work a thousand words. While I respect McCain's decision to be more proactive people need to stop acting like it is McCain is sacraficing here or showing great leadership. We are two months away from an election and we act like he is doing this based on his principles. No principles are voting for funding to help Katrina victims, cancelling your birthday party with the president as one of the worst natural disasters hits the US. The media is eating this up but remember a test of character is not when the lights are on you and everyone is looking. A test of character is when no one is looking. God bless New Orleans!

    August 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  11. burwell

    @ a house divided
    why so bitter?

    as far as this video goes, it was a joke, and while in bad taste, nothing more. who doesnt joke around with friends about things that arent really a joking matter? everyone does, it just so happens this was recorded.

    people need to move on and accept jokes for jokes.

    August 31, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. bern

    South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson firsat needs to demand her state do something about the divisive racist confederate flag the SC GOP is so proud of.

    The comment was in poor taste but hardly as bad as some of the dumb stuff that ends up on these CNN threads by various neocons, racists, facists and republicans.

    August 31, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  13. marie

    So what about the Republican preacher that was praying for it to rain on the DNC, so chairman Dawson are you saying that it was ok. Thats why you have to be careful what you pray for.

    August 31, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  14. Tori, Oregon

    Hey McCain's 527 group was praying for rain to wipe out the democrats in Denver in an Ad. It's about Karma

    August 31, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  15. Glenn

    McCain who has kow towed to the James Dobson wing of the GOP, is the the guy going for a photo op in the Gulf Coast in his "American hat." Dobson prayed for there to be rain on Thursday night at the Denver stadium rally for Obama. Maybe Dobson is out of favor with God. I can't imagine a so-called man of the cloth making that kind of prayer anyway.

    August 31, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Ron democrat turned independent

    a house divided

    you forgot Hillary and Bill Clinton

    August 31, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. case

    How did this become Obama's falt? Guess like McCain's add saying High gas prices where Obama's fault, everything bad in world is his fault. Not the man in the Whitehouse.

    August 31, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  18. mello doug New Mexico

    Political correctness has gone to far into "neverland".

    August 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. michele

    obama didn't say it and he can't control what people say. about mcain spiritual adviser rev, mcgee that stated that what happen to katrina was a curse from god. that wasn't right and these people wasn't curse.
    please don't be judgemental

    August 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. Ken

    Typical democrats. They are scum and you never know when a camera is around. This shows they are back-stabbers.

    August 31, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. The Facts Movement

    It was a sad day, when McCain called American whiners!!!

    August 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Denise Velez

    McCain's endorser Hagee said Katrina was the punishment of God on New Orleans. Some other fundies called for national prayer for rain to wash out the night Barack Obama was speaking.

    Now McCain is so "concerned" about Gustav, when he voted against relief bills for victims of Katrina and Wilma.

    Who are the hypocrites and who are the real Christians?

    August 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. PAT

    It just sounds like a nervous, off hand, smarty thing that was said inappropriately – nothing more. I think it had a lot more to do with "my team vs your team, and we just got a handicap", and had nothing to do with the potential suffering of the gustav victims. Both parties have had people finding themselves being accountable for comments made in supposed privacy, to a friend. A certain amount of accountability is, of course, expected, but these people are human, too, and mostly don't say things that other people, who are not so scruntinized, say in an off-hand manner at times.

    August 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. Shannon

    I was a Democrat for 30 years, but this new bunch is just disgusting. Obama preaches hope and change, but all these nasty little comments put out by his surrogates are just to much. How do his nasty comments unite us, how does his constant demeaning of women unite us. Now Obama supporters are demeaning the birth of Governor Palin's Down Syndrome child, really is that how low you want to go. I think attacking her and her children is his new talking point, I read it on every blog. . Remember he's a uniter, LOL!

    August 31, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. matt proctor

    yeah I'm sure it will all blow over by the election. Are these two jokers up for re-election. If so I guess it will be time for payback in November.

    August 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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