August 27th, 2009
07:27 PM ET
9 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. Guy

    Evil Republicans.....

    The Man upstairs sees all and hears all.

    August 27, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. John G

    Great White Hope is an expression and nothing more. Not everything is racist, but those who see racism in everything surely must be.

    Just remember : if you spot it, you got it.

    August 27, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Common Sense '08

    It's so sad that a political party that supposedly have God on their side can not see that President Obama was placed in office by divine appointment. You'll never win in four years with hate, deception, deceit, lying, manipulation and pride. We are suppose pray for our government (Republicans and Democrats), not use hateful tactics to eliminate them. You'll never win this way!

    August 27, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Keven Bennett

    Is the GOP going to manage boxers now? I guess it must be since they are finished as a *sane* political party...

    August 27, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. DonnaLee

    I am white. I am a moderate independent who was once a long time republican. Me and a lot of other moderate folks are looking for political sanity. We won't support thuggery. I guess I just got sick and tired of the republican party's loving embrace of the far right. It appears that the republicans are looking to the far right in hopes of finding the "great white hope" to do battle with the new skinny half white kid. Let's hope they find someone in possession of both front teeth. By-crackie.

    August 27, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Mike S., New Orleans

    Isn't it odd how Republicans who use racist language always apologize for it later by saying they didn't know it was racist?
    "The Great White Hope" arose from a movie by the same title – its about a white boxer's chances of winning against a black boxer.
    Not rocket science.

    August 27, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Bridgette

    I think the one that should be ashamed is Michael Steele. He has just let then RNC get away with too much racisim and should be calling them out on it. But no it's more important for him to look like a fool apparently than to install his dignity again.

    August 27, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. bj

    For all you stupid democrats that are trying to turn this into some kind of racist usual, open your little minds and read the below reference from the Princeton website, and then go back to reading your comic books and texting one another.....
    "Great White Hope (someone (or something) expected to achieve great success in a given field) "this company is the great white hope of the nuclear industry's waste management policy"

    August 27, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Concerned

    Typical racist republican.

    August 27, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Stu-Florida

    It seems there's another GOP that is very bothered by the fact that a black President will bring us back from the quagmire we are all in.

    It just doesnt sit well with the racists that OUR guy will go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents ever. As a matter of fact it
    really galls them!

    August 27, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. notfooledbydistractions

    She's right – the republicans are holding out for the "great white hope" because that's all they've got left – they've managed to alienate just about every other ethnic group, so it's no misspeak.

    August 27, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Here's some context, per wikipedia.....

    "The Great White Hope tells a fictional idealised life story of boxing champion Jack Johnson, here called Jack Jefferson.[2] Acting as a lens focused on a racist society, The Great White Hope explores how segregation and prejudice created the demand for a "great white hope" who would defeat Johnson and how this, in turn, affected the boxer's life and career."

    Now, despite the origin of the phrase, let's see some blathering about how all Republicans are racists.

    August 27, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. Brianne

    Hmmmm.... wonder what is going to happen to the GOP in twenty years when caucasions are a minority in this country. Can't change your racist beliefs that quickly!

    August 27, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Aspen Professor

    Could it be that the Repubs just cannot help themself from making racist comments? It would appear that it is a case of open mouth, insert foot.

    That may be second only to the Health Care comments. In those cases, it is open mouth, lie lie lie.

    August 27, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Jim in San Jose 2

    Oh look! A new nominee for dumbest congressperson EVER! If you want to live in racist times, go back to the 18th Century, biggot!

    August 27, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Josh in TN

    This party and anyone affiliated with it is either racist or crazy. They are always making comments like this. They have always been looking at themselves as a great white hope. They even have a seperate white Jesus not the Jew from the Bible. I like the real Jesus. He doesn't like them.

    August 27, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Freedom

    Who cares

    August 27, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. aboyer

    What other meaning does that phrase have?

    August 27, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Susan

    Funny...she obviously said just what she meant, is backtracking, but the right has forgiven her...and the left, instead of grandstanding over this idiotic comment, is letting it speak for itself. It has been obvious for a while that their real problem with the President is his skin, not his policies.

    August 27, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Donna from Colorado Springs

    I'm sure that her statement wasn't a "freudian slip" and meant exactly what she said! I don't understand why all the anti-Obama sentiment is coming out now. Considering how overwhelmingly he beat McCain, why are so many people against him now? I think their using the healthcare bill as a smokescreen to vent their frustrations over the recession and they're blaming Obama instead of who is the real culprit......our lovely former president! His skin color has nothing to do with lost jobs and money problems.The recession began in 2007.....not 2009!

    August 27, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Stephen

    This woman knew exactly what she was saying and what she was implying. This is just another example of where the GOP is headed. She just got caught making a racist statement. Many Republicans feel that there is an all out war against "THEIR KIND" and they now need to do whatever it takes to turn the tide from the way they believe the country is headed....more diverse. Hopefully when all these good 'ol boy politicians depart from this earth the future generations coming behind them will be more tolerant and willing to work for a more diverse country. That's the "bright light" I want to discuss.

    August 27, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. Mr. Trueman

    So I guess Steele isn't the hope for the GOP?

    August 27, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - I spend all day blogging, contribute nothing to society

    No need to apologize. Only the idiots on the left who want to make everything into a racial issue will critisize you.

    August 27, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. twitwits are the new nitwits

    Freundian slip I would say.hahaha

    August 27, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. Martyna

    I do not understand why she apologized afterall she was only
    stating what she believes. With all the hateful commentary coming
    from the right everyone knows this is all about a minority being
    president of this country, nothing more. Shame on You!!

    August 27, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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