September 29th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
6 years ago

Black Florida congressman apologizes for Palin comments

Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida is apologizing for recent comments about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida is apologizing for recent comments about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

(CNN) – An African-American congressman from Florida is apologizing for his comment that black and Jewish voters should not support Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin because "anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks."

"I regret the comments I made last Tuesday that were not smart and certainly not relevant to hunters or sportsmen," Rep. Alcee Hastings said in a statement issued Monday.

Last week, at a panel on the shared agenda of Jewish and African-American Democrats during the annual conference of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Hastings told attendees what he intended to tell his Jewish constituents about the importance of supporting Sen. Obama in November's presidential election. "If Sarah Palin isn't enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention," Hastings said last week. "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through," he added

The comments elicited a swift response from the Republican Jewish Coalition. In a statement issued last week, Matt Brooks, the group's Executive Director, said Hastings "stooped to the worst kind of divisive politics."

"There should be no place in our country for this sort of political discourse. We can constructively disagree on the issues without denigrating others," added Brooks.

In his statement Monday, Hastings said he still backed the sentiment behind his initial remarks. "The point I made, and will continue to make, is that the policies and priorities of a McCain-Palin administration would be anathema to most African Americans and Jews," he said in his statement. "I regret that I was not clearer and apologize to Governor Palin, my host where I was speaking, and those who my comments may have offended."

Last Friday, the NJDC announced the launch of a new campaign of pro-Obama ads that will appear in Jewish newspapers across the country. The first ad in the campaign is timed to coincide with the Rosh Hashanah issues of the publications, and focuses on Obama's support for Israel. "Barack Obama is committed to a safe and secure Israel" and "believes that Israel must be preserved as a Jewish state," the ad reads.

The Republican Jewish Coalition has already launched its own series of election-related ads in Jewish newspapers throughout the country. The latest ad refers to some Obama's advisers as "pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel, and even hostile to America" and states that "You can know a man by the company he keeps."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Florida • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (293 Responses)
  1. Dina-Bronx for Obama

    THIS IS A RACE ABOUT RACE. STOP THE B.S. AND LET'S START TO ADDRESS THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.

    America: You can still be a racist and vote for Obama (I think Spike Lee said that).

    Think of your future - think of losing what you already have - think about what really matters.

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. John Doe

    Is there a way CNN can group comments to two? Real Comments and Garbage/Gripes. That way, I don't waste my time scrolling on numerous stupid remarks. Thank you.

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Independent FL voter

    So McCain/Palin can dish it out but they can't take it. Lying hypocrites.

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. liz, from Mo

    I am not a fan of Sarah, Palin but that was a reckless and dumb thing to say! especially from a congressman!

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. Jerry

    Ms. Palin is NOT qualified to be the Vice-president of (what might be left of) this country – but she deserves respect as a fellow human. I wish politicians and others would engage brain prior to inserting mouth.

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. Eugene

    OOPS -> edit

    ... article doesn't even NAME the apologizing congressman in question in the first paragraph ...

    sorry

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Chiedu Egbuniwe

    Um, I'm still trying to figure what was wrong or untrue about the congressman's statements...

    September 29, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. J. Dean

    WELL, AS THE WORLD TURNS, WE THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE OF THIS GREAT NATION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CAN ONLY EXERCISE OUR LAST FREEDOM.
    FOR ALL THESE MESS BROUGHT UPON US WE CAN ONLY BLAME OUR PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH AND COMPANY AND ALL THOSE WHO SUPPORTED HIM 90%, 80%, 70% AND SO ON.
    OUR COUNTRY IS BLEEDING AND WE DO NOT SEE ANY TRUE LEADER WHO HAS THE COURAGE TO STAND AND PROTECT US, WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
    AS A LIFETIME REPUBLICAN, THE UNDERSIGNED AND MY FAMILY CANNOT AND WILL NOT SUPPORT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ANYMORE. THIS COULD BE MY LAST FREEDOM THAT I CHOOSE TO EXERCISE.
    GOD SAVE AMERICA AND OUR BRAVEST MILITARY FORCES.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Selling jets on ebay for America

    Unless his "apology" was contained in a resgination letter, it's totally insufficient. this kind of backlash racism will keep this country from ever moving forward and those who practice it have NO place in politics.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Rick

    Yes, it's free speech. So's this: Hastings is a racist in the mode of Al Sharpton. Remember the Tawana Brawley hoax that ruined the life of the Rockland county prosectutor and Sharpton's condemnation of the Duke lax players who were fully exonerated (both of which without nary an apology from Sharpton, et. al). This isn't the first from Hastings and won't be the last.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. James Charles

    In a bad economy , a crisis that republican's party including John Mccain created . I think Sarah Palin needs to appologize too when she minimizez Barack Obama as a community organizer.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Brooke

    Where were the Obama supporters when Mr Hastings (an impeached judge) made these comments? Where was the outrage? Had a similar comment been made by the GOP it would not have been pretty. It's funny, the Dems are injecting race into this campaign far more than the Republicans.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. ShirleyS

    LOL what a bunch of hypocrites republicans are. The biggest most childish name callers dare to criticize anyone else.

    What he said about Palin is most likey true. Not sure how it's racist except for pointing out how racist repubs are.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Ellie, Boyds MD

    NOT to worry Congressman, WHEN John McCain APOLOGIZES for using the PIG WITH A LIPSTICK COMMENT OVER AND OVER AND WHEN Sarah Palin STOPS LYING ABOUT "SEEING RUSSIA" from whatever PORCH she's currently standing on...

    THEN YOUR APOLOGY WOULD BE NECESSARY!!!

    BUT WHEN YOU HAVE TWO OF THE BIGGEST LIARS ON ONE TICKET.... THERE'S NO NEED TO APOLOGIZE.

    September 29, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Yvonne from Florida

    I agree with Nora in Florida. This kind of talk is out of place. What ever happened to civility? I am so very upset with both campaigns right now. I cannot take people seriously when they are saying such hurtful things. I have many friends with whom I differ politically, yet we are friends. I grew up in the South. And I know and knew men (not too many women) , both black and white who hunted. This does not make them bad people. They just have a different way of life. Many people in Florida fish. Many people in Alaska hunt. Many people in New York City take the subway. Many people in Texas drive pick-up trucks. Just accept the differences, people. And respect each other. Be kind to one another, and vote the way you want.

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Chad

    If this remark was made by a republican then Jesse Jackson would be all over it . Guess he does not care about this because it was not about one of his cronies.

    Go Sarah!

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Liz

    Here we go again, another politician apologizing after the fact. If he did not mean what he said why say it in the first place. He is only apologizing because he is afraid he is going to lose his seat in congress. As far as I am concerned this is not a real apology. He is just looking out for himself.

    All of you Obama supporters are so easy to criticize Plain and not one of you can accomplish what she has done. She will show you people that she is not dumb like all you are and even with all of this criticism she will go ahead and win the debate. You people will have to eat your words because its going to be Biden whi will be the loser.

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. The Legal Mind

    Dissenting opinions and criticisms are a part of our democracy in the United States. Let us not forget that the United States of America sets the standard by which others are judged when it comes to freedom and democracy. America, the world is watching. Let us show some restraints on how we chastise our candidates. The mandate of the American people will speak come November.

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Independent, white female !

    Palin is an idiot and a clueless dumb woman who should pull out of the race for the good of the country.

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Cam

    A DeHaven above:

    Are you serious? I mean, Palin has given three "unscripted" interviews and bombed all of them. How gutsy is she by avoiding the press, avoiding answering for her misdeeds in Alaska, and whining about how mean everyone is to the poor female?

    She is the worst type of person. One who expects to be able to disrespect anyone she chooses but cries when anyone hits back. She also has a very low regard for ethics with all her antics in Alaska. I have never seen a more pathertic VP pick.....

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. cevans, tx

    Excuse me, isn't that how she defined herself?

    What did he say wrong?

    Please give me a report with substance...

    September 29, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Terry, NJ

    Reverse racist this guy is. If you're white and you don't vote for Obama some Obama supporters call you a racist. But if you're African American and you vote for Obama because he's an African American you're not a racist? Pot calling the kettle black here.. When something like 90% of African Americans voted for Obama because he's African American, that's called being racist too.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. nw70

    you lefties who defend this crap or say its not important are the BIGGEST hipocrits there is. If a republican said anything like this you same left wing crazies would be hootin and hollerin like it was the end of the world. hell you all have freaked out on things being said that wasnt anywhere close to how dispicable this was. along with Hastings you all should shut your traps, you race baiting fools.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. James

    Look at where blacks in America were 144 years ago, then 44 years ago and then today. Just 67 years ago, Jews in Europe were being herded like cattle to their deaths. We have made progress in racial and religous tolerance here in America, and there still work to be done. Comments like this shouldn't be tolerated. Yes, I am a white democrate and I'm voting for McCain, and color of skin has nothing to do with it.

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. American First

    Hypothetical question:

    If Palin had made a speech that basically said do not vote for Obama because he is black, what would have happened?

    The comments by Hastings or any comment from either side like it have no place in this country, let alone in this political race.

    Let's move forward and address the economy.......

    If we do not – then none of our comments here will matter anyway

    September 29, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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