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. Carl from MI

    The Rev. Falwell NEEDS to be poked fun at!!! That man is a complete and total IDIOT!!! He deserves to be ridiculed and rightly so!!!

    And for your SELF-RIGHTOUS Republicans... James Dobson's boy Stuart Shepard and Focus on the Family prayed for rain on the Democratic Convention... but that was OK for him to poke fun at the Dems because he's from the Radical Religious Right and that justifies it!!! That was funny stuff, right? That was OK to do... because I didn't hear ONE SINGLE REPUBLICAN DENOUNCE THE MAN AND DENOUNCE THE ACT AS BEING ANYTHING BUT CHRISTIAN-LIKE!!! THEY ARE THE DESPICABLE ONES!!

    So you Republicans can just cry me a river... it's OK to dish it out. But when you get it dished out right back in your face, you become a 'Party of Whiners'!!! Hmmm... as a matter of fact, that's the same tactics you use on a bully!!! It's OK for the bully to dish it out, but when you give it right back in the bully's face... they go crying to their mamas!!!!

    It's a sorry day for Republicans... maybe this is God's way of sending their prayers for rain on the Dem's convention right back in their faces. And I, for one, am the first to admit that they HAVE IT COMING!!!

    WAKE UP, AMERICA!!! VOTE SMART.... NOT SENILE!!!!

    August 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. HAWK, TEXAS

    DOUBLE STANDARDS. IT IS FINE WHEN THE REPUBLICANS SMEAR AND SLANDER WITH ALL THEIR LIES. BUT OH NO, DON'T LET ONE JOKING WORD COME FROM A DEMOCRAT. THE HOLYIER THAN THOU COME OUT OF THE WOOD WORK. LIKE MCCAIN SAYING OBAMA DIDN'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO RUN THIS COUNTRY. THEN LOOK WHAT HE COMES UP WITH. THEN SAYS THAT SHE HAS VAST EXPERIENCE. WHAT A BUNCH OF BULL.

    August 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Alice

    here we go, again

    denounce and reject any comment anyone made

    good grief

    August 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. vince

    I'm pretty sure countless of people have made this joke across the country (and the world). So some people need to loosen up.

    August 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  5. Gary in Tennessee

    What about the joke McCain pulled the other day by choosing an air head that has no inkling of what to do if number one was out of the picture. A joke is a joke but the high and mighty republicans can't get it, they want heads to roll, what about John McCains lies about the swift boat fiasco, this wasn't a joke just a down and dirty lie?

    August 31, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. Jimi NY

    It was a JOKE!!!!

    GROW UP!!!!!!!!

    I am so sick of all the babies in these forums.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 . . . THE LOGICAL CHOICE!

    August 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. C.Schaeffer

    The Democrat Party has a large share of idiot behavior.

    August 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  8. Danny

    Where was the GOP outrage of Rev. Jerry Falwell's comment about God allowing the 9/11 terrorist attacks? He certainly wasn't joking. Perhaps so many of the GOP agreed with Falwell it wasn't possible to call it an outrage?

    August 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  9. PG

    Oh, the GOP is so innocent.

    August 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  10. ruthann

    Seriously, does anybody expect that Dems subscribe to high standards and civility?

    August 31, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  11. Carl

    This must be some of the change Obama is promising.

    August 31, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. Chicago Kev

    The Democrats seem to be stooping to new lows with this campaign. Blaming a dead man doesn't make it any better.

    August 31, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  13. OBAMA WAS ELECTED PALIN WAS SELECTED

    HHMMM didn't the rabid Right group Focus on the Family pray for rain last Thursday night in Denver which was a beautiful day for 85,000 folks to hear Obama's acceptance speech? Isn't Monday night the night HRH and The Dick were to mumble and rale? Gustav is now scheduled to hit on Monday.

    Using the rabid Right's Focus on the Family logic, that must mean that God is on the side of Democrats, since there was not a cloud in the sky last Thursday. I am pleased God rebukes the Republican party which invokes His name to judge and condemn. So, do not blame the Dem's we were only applying that same twisted religious zealot logic so advocated by Focus on the Family.

    The Republicans should now offer up prays of thanks for Gustav during the Republican convention, so, they can use the storm as a cover and close early and hide the fact that it would have closed due to lack of interest.

    And since HRH has decided to skip the RNC, this should free him up so he can do another flyover the devastation and then ride in on an Army convoy on Thursday 4 days after the storm, for a photo op.
    Silly me, I forgot my native Louisiana now has a Republican governor, maybe he will move the photo op to Wednesday. HRH and McCrypt did not seem to let Katrina disrupt McCrypt's birthday party, we would not want to miss that, gotta keep those Republican priorities! Yeah, that is right, still bitter after 3 years, but only because it was so callous, cavalier and so Republican with the "let them eat cake" attitude so prevalent in this election.

    August 31, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. YOLA

    A house divided – you are an idiot if you are trying to blame this man's words on Obama. By your argument, everything that the loser Repugs say should be blamed on McCain – right?

    August 31, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  15. maria

    Bush and McCain did worst three years ago, more shamefull

    August 31, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  16. gary

    THATS THE MORTALITY OF THE DEMS. OBAMA HAS BROUGHT NOTHING BUT HATE TO THIS ELECTION. YOU NAIVE O.B. SUPPORTERS ARE RIGHT IN HIS CATAGORY. I NEVER SEEN SO MUCH HATE IN A ELECTION RACE. O.B. WILL TELL YOU ALL EVERTHING YOU WANT TO HEAR ,BUT CANT DELIVER WHAT HE SAYS.YOU CANT CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT,WASHINGTON OR CONGRESS.HE IS NOT GOD OR A MAGICIAN WITH A MAGIC WAND. YOU O.B. SUPPORTERS WILL BE KICKING YOURSELVES IN THE - IF HE GETS ELECTED AND NOTHING HE TELLS YOU WILL BECOME. GO MCCAIN/PALIN

    August 31, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  17. JERRY

    I just think it is ironic that this religious nut prayed for rain during Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco in Denver. Looks that God don't like ugly. Whose parade is being "rained" on?

    August 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. Fernando de Magalllanes

    Anonymous August 31st, 2008 8:21 pm ET

    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.

    Anonymous:

    The problem is that what McCain did not publish anything false about Obama in those ads. It was true.

    Both the Republicans have left their roots, but what we do not need is a hard left wing socialist like Obama. Even the Socialist Chinese have learned that getting away from the socialism is what vastly improved their economy.

    August 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  19. Randy Churchill

    What a foolish, weak excuse: he said it because of something that Falwell once said?! Just apologize AND STOP TRYING TO RATIONALIZE! It was a stupid and inexcusable comment. Just apologize and it's done.

    August 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  20. Shey

    I do find it ironic that Stuart Shepard of "Focus on the Family" had a video on You Tube praying for 'torrential rains' on Obama's acceptance speech.

    And now look.........hey......the irony is pretty stunning.

    Get over it.

    August 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. Tom

    And to use some comments made years ago by some one who is dead to explain away such disgusting comments follows the democratic operandi,blame some else never take responsibility and make sure you throw in a republican as a excuse for your behavior.

    August 31, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. Noxapater, Mississippi

    We need to stop blaming people as only God is in control of rain/storms/natural disasters, etc. – NOT Humans..I have been taught that one can only pray to God to present our desires. God determines the outcome of our prayers – sometimes we get exactly what we asked; sometimes our prayers are not answered; and sometimes the prayer is answered, but the answer is not specifically what we requested. We can not blame democrats! We can not blame Obama! We can't blame the Republicans who specifically prayed to God to send rain during the convention. Two weeks ago all of the National Press/Media, etc. were showing "Focus on the Family'" Preacher Dobson saying that he has asked his followers to pray for rain during the convention.... it should be expected for people to remember what was shown on the television and question whether or not Rev. Dobson is receiving his answer. In reality, Rev. Dobson and his followers prayers were not answered in the manner expected – but the prayers have been answered. I do not believe that anyone should be viewed as "Making Fun" of the natural disaster which may occur on the Gulf Coast.. I have heard many people discussing the irony of the Rev. Dobson's request to his followers to pray for rain to ruin the convention (Democract) last week to what is happening to his (Rev. Dobson) convention (Republican) this week.

    August 31, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  23. charles

    Remember a week or so ago the right wing so called pastor james dobson said to all right wing christians they should pray for bad weather on Dem. Convention in the stadium. Now it seems like fate has it's own since of irony. Maybe God did make a choice between the heart (Dem) and the heartless (Rep) .

    August 31, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. Joe Bloise

    The fact is that God could be angry that a Muslim was nominated to be the Democrat Candidate for President. How could someone say such a horrible thing is beyond my comprehension. The conventions should have both been early in the summer to avoid these late summer nightmare.

    August 31, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  25. J. BYRNES

    Now Don, let's dump on Jerry Falwell, he's only been dead for a year or two, that will endear the BO campaign to the Evangelicals. You and J. Sprat go from bad to worse.

    Isn't there some way you could have worked Ronald Reagan into the deal?

    August 31, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
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