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. WhoCares?

    At anytime you start an apology with "IF I offended anyone"...just stop because you certainly don't mean it.

    August 27, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. BJ

    She is just saying what the GOP is wishing, hoping and praying for on a daily basis. Where does that leave the Governor of Louisiana and M. Steele? Dah!

    August 27, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. kelly

    Actually, it is a somewhat common saying that people misuse frequently because they do not know their history. The 'great white hope' referred to a white boxer in the early days of boxing, a sport that was predominately black. They felt that this white boxer had what it took to compete against the strength of the black men boxing in the day. However, over time, with history obscured, it has also come to mean a beacon of hope, a bright spot in a dark world(outside of racial connotations). Of course those who know the actual term and history may read deeper. However, I am not sure why it would be so racist to be a different color in a group dominated by another and have people cheer for you to succeed?

    August 27, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Chris

    I believe that most of you are interpreting her comments as 'racists' because you are the racists and that's how you interpret everything that mentions color! Her use of the term "Great White Hope" obviously refers only the the fight where there was a white boxer who fought against a black boxer. He was referred to as the "Great White Hope", or a person who had superior boxing skills. She's only saying that her part needs someone of superior political skills in order to put her party back into the fight for all of the positions where we stupidly voted for all of these liberal klunkheads (white, black, or as in the case of our president -- white and black). Get a life people, quit thinking of everything as black and white, open your minds and you will see -–

    August 27, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Carlos Averhoff

    Yeah, this underscores the blatan racism and racial biased that is prevelant in today's Republican party. It comes to the fore on statements like this, which need to be immediately explained. What can you expect from a party who is headed by Rush Limbaugh, if you don't believe Rush rules the roost just ask Michael Steele...who the real boss is!!

    August 27, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. Grog in Ohio

    "Obviously" the Congress woman was speaking to a group of her "obvious" peers and "obviously" didn't think her "obviously" racist comment would become "obvious". It's "obvious" that Republicans, in general, aren't thinking clearly with a Knee-Grow in the White House. "Obviously".

    What an "obvious" loon.

    August 27, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. John

    Holy cow. The Republicans don't even try to hide it anymore. This lady is no different than the rest, they just don't say it in public. I'll be glad when this group finishes self destructing so the Democrats can get something done.

    August 27, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. Ican'tseerRussiafrommyhouse?

    Whats new?nothing The Republicans can't only not see any light in their dark blank worldlight their has gone out .
    Jenkins you are not fooling anyone you meant every word of your rehearsed statement it was intended big timeand from the Get Go .

    August 27, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. usualone

    This Congresswoman spoke how way too many people think. We hear vague comments from our neighbors and fellow employees who obviously think that way. They use every way possible to disguise their feelings about President Obama. Now some are brazen enough (stupid) to let their true feeling pour forth. These town hall meetings really reflect that, with the outragious behavior of too many. If they really had differences with President Obama's ideas, they would act more thoughtfully. Their hatred (and fear) is showing too clearly. I hope the "silent majority" finally stop these disruptive folk in their paths. When will our Congress be willing to walk across the aisles and also behave as adults. Senator Kennedy and his "opposition" remind us of how it used to be.

    August 27, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  10. daisy

    LOL you're not gonna find your "great white hope" in Steele!

    August 27, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  11. Chuck

    You can't spin this one , baby! What you said was exactly what you meant. yes?

    Another, deep down, racist Republican, this Lynn Jenkins is, yes?

    August 27, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Jelo33

    We already know that the Republicans are playing racial games with our country, that wasn't a slip it's what they say behind closed doors.
    The Republicans think they can win if they and Rush Limbaugh are successful in creating racial strife – Not in my country, I won't let you.

    August 27, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  13. No Incumbents 2010

    Why does the GOP have so many racists? There is no place for such ignorant, disrespectful discourse in America. Jenkins cannot even admit that she made an offensive, ignorant, racist remark. Jenkins has had her Macaca moment but GOP leader Glenn Beck continues to get paid millions for spouting hate speech.

    August 27, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. nola

    She said what she meant – it was not a mistake – One dumb individual.

    August 27, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  15. wilson

    Let's see if this artiicial gets plastered all over news and internet; and for how long? Since it's a white person making these comments maybe a day or two at the most!!!!

    August 27, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. doight

    The Republican party is a White Christian Upper Middle Class/Rich party. They are great at scaring people into voting for them. What does it say about your country when you actually vote for them? When you look at the debt and suffering and loss of life in Iraq this was mostly the result of the U.S. being in Republican hands. The Republicans will stop at nothing to bring down your black President.

    You have attacked President Obama with words like:racist, terrorist, socialist, communist, radical, and Americans have shown up at rallies with guns.

    On the one hand you say you are losing Liberty and freedom and want the government to leave you alone. In the next breath you say the government should stop companies from sending jobs overseas.

    The Republicans want to keep people poor , uneducated and subserviant. They are racist and try to hide it but every once and awhile it slips out.

    August 27, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. Mario, mtl, ca.

    There is less clowns in the' cirque du soleil' than the gops

    August 27, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Chris in NC

    Gee whiz. Lighten up people. Poor choice of words – yes – but quit the race baiting...it's just an expression and everybody knows that. It's a term freely used, regardless of skin color, in all walks of life.

    August 27, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Billy

    The thing is, it's not always a deliberate attempt at racism. I was raised in a part of the country where they use phrases like "indian giver" and "I jewed him down to a cheaper price", and other such gems.

    I think the reason this sort of things comes down on the GOP so often is that its members, by and large, surround themselves with people who are pretty much like them. The lack of diversity brings with it a lack of awareness.

    August 27, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Paul

    The republicans are truly racist and elitist. This is not an accidental statement, but a window into the Republican soul They got run out of Washington D.C. by the voters of the U.S. for just this sort of behavior. I only hope that no republican ever wins a new congressional or presidential position ever again.

    August 27, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. ReggO

    The GOP truly represents its self well. I would rather deal with someone who lets you know where they are coming from at all times, rather than someone who lies and is a faker. Not only are they the party of '"no'" but represents the real prejudice that exist in America..

    August 27, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Some republican guy

    I thought Styx invented that phrase. You learn something new every day. Have a nice day!

    August 27, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  23. kmak jones

    bright light, yeah she meant bright "white"...sickening

    August 27, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Richard

    I am a life long Democrat and I really believe that her remarks were innocent. I just think she is not very quick on the uptake. If you notice most repuglicans only know what their money people tell them. You can understand that when you check the legislation they have put forth in their careers.

    August 27, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    what I find funny is those on the right who defend her statement saying it wasn't a racist remark...then why did she have to say she was sorry for saying it then? I bet Rush would not have apoligized nor would Glenn Beck....heck he called the president a racist and is still on the air. The Dixe Chicks made a stupid statement abouth then President Bush and the right wingers wanted to run them out of the country. Go figure.

    August 27, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
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