August 27th, 2009
07:27 PM ET
5 years ago

Congresswoman apologizes for 'great white hope' comment

Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a Kansas newspaper that she did not intend to make a racist comment when she said her party was looking for a 'great white hope.'
Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a Kansas newspaper that she did not intend to make a racist comment when she said her party was looking for a 'great white hope.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican congresswoman apologized Thursday for saying that her party is looking for a "great white hope" to counteract President Obama's political agenda.

Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins told the Lawrence Journal-World that she did not intend to make a racist comment, and was simply saying that "Republicans have been suffering in recent years and we need a bright light."

"Obviously I was discussing the future of the Republican Party in response to a question about is there any hope for Republicans," Jenkins said. "I was explaining that there are some bright lights in the House, and I was unaware of any negative connotation. If I offended somebody, obviously I apologize."

Jenkins had been criticized for saying at an August 19 forum in Kansas that the GOP needs "to find the great white hope" to help the party succeed in the future.

"Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," Jenkins said. "I suggest to any of you who are concerned about that, who are Republican, there are some great young Republican minds in Washington."


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soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. I can see Canada from my house!

    Just when they seem to be gaining some genuine traction, the GOP lets off another round in their collective foot, which they promptly insert into their mouths. They had better give up on being a big tent: right now they are looking like a rain poncho.

    August 27, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. Reagan was wrong

    If she meant to say "bright light", she could've just said "bright light" instead of "great white hope".

    August 27, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. BobH

    Thank you, Republican party, for your support of The Daily Show comic writers. This stuff is too funny to make up...

    August 27, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Mary

    Steele is the great white hope if lights is what she was talking about. The Party elected him.

    August 27, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. sarah

    Freudian slip? No one is surprised by anything like this coming from Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, or South Carolina. Let it slide....It's how they were raised.

    August 27, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. scott

    Typical. That's why they are the party of No. Party of Distraction and have such a narrow coalition making up there party. They see there power being lost to the New population. She just spoke exactly how they feel as right wing extremist

    August 27, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Stupid stupid comment given the obvious implications, but it is nothing more than a turn of phrase no different than using the lipstick ona pig line. Turning it into a big deal would be jhust as bad as when the GOPers claimed Obama had called Palin a pig, which was total nonsense. She apologized...leave it at that.

    August 27, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Smarter than That

    Typical republican open mouth insert foot.

    August 27, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. angela

    Ooops! Freudian slip.

    August 27, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. cassamandra

    typical republican apology: "When I said white, I didn't mean white." Cf. "it's not torture, it's enhanced interrogation," "some bad weather down in New Orleans tonight, I hear," or "I swear to honor and protect the constitution."

    August 27, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. YBM

    She shouldn't apologize, she was correct.

    August 27, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Laila

    Ok.. I give her benefit of doubt.

    August 27, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Justin

    I did not mean to reveal my racism, all I meant was that "Republicans have been suffering in recent years and we need a bright light," and that bright light, it goes without saying, cannot be black or Hispanic.

    August 27, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Blindasthe eyecansee

    I d 10 t
    Tech talk for IDIOT

    August 27, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. JVB

    Thank goodness for national media. In Kansas, the Repubs are claiming this is not a racist statement it just refers to someone who has great promise in their field. Yeah right. Oh by the way, all the people she referred to were white.

    August 27, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Paul I

    Let's assume the congresswoman is ignorant about the context of the phrase she used. Let's assume the congresswoman's brain was unable to connect that a phrase including the word "white" and counteracting Obama may carry some racial connotation. Then we can forgive her and we are left to feel sorry for the voters in the Kansas House district who are represented by an illiterate airhead.

    August 27, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. chris Taylor

    I would probably be considered a liberal and even I think this is ridiculous. Let's stop looking for racism/sexism and homophobia where it doesn't exist. There are plenty of real life examples of it in the world. "Great white hope" is an old phrase. People need to stop apologizing for everything in this country.

    August 27, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. Shelly

    Please think before speaking! It is comments like this that instigate even more hatred and predjudice! I pray everyday for Americans to live in Peace, Love and Harmony. And with elected officials like this spouting off comments without thinking, is unconsiounable! We elect our officials to speak for us, and this is not what we want to hear!

    August 27, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Jim Steele

    The truth comes out one way or another with these people...you really think all the furor on the part of southern whites over this health care issue has anything to do with health care?

    August 27, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. a progressive liberal and proud of it

    "Kansas Rep. Lynn Jenkins told the Lawrence Journal-World that she did not intend to make a racist comment,"

    Yeah she did. She just didn't "intend" to get called on it. It's like I've always told my children, just because you say you're "sorry" after you say mean, hateful things doesn't make it any better.

    August 27, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. big papa

    Ye olde Freudian slip...

    ...conservative Republican-style...

    ...Lynn we know EXACTLY what you meant...

    August 27, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Irma in North Carolina

    The only way the GOP will find great white hope is to stop being the party of NO and start working with president. And they need to stop Palin from making remarks like the death panel deal. She is the one who got this country in an uproar about the health care reform, and then she has people like Rush, Glen, Mitt going along with her on it. Palin is going on fox news for only one reason she wants these jerks to be in her cabinet when alaska puts her in the white house.

    August 27, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Chuck

    Wow...how can that be taken any other way than as a racist comment? There was a reason that they kept showing the same token black man at the RNC last year...he was the only one there.

    I'm not saying that all Republicans are racist...But I think it's fair to say that all white supremists vote Republican. There is a reason for that. ALL of their policies are inteded to help BIG business. Cititzens and namely those that can't fend for themselves(tend to be minorities) are on their own. And Bush had the nerve to call Republicans the party of inclusion. Only his cabinet reflected that(mainly for photo ops I'm sure) and not his party.

    August 27, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    And this is why there is no future for the GOP. How does that shoe taste anyways? Mmmmmmmmmmmm yummy,
    Maybe if the GOP would return to what they are always promising and never doing they might have a chance. Smaller government, less collectivism, no progressive policies, NO "New World Order" and a return to the principles of the founding fathers. Maybe if the GOP would stop lining their pockets with every lobbyist and special interest dollars, they would remember "We the People" for a change.

    August 27, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. Tiffiny

    I am so sorry to say this person is my representative. Humiliating.

    August 27, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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