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. Cleo, NJ

    She had her great white hope–George W. Bush. Newflash....he blew it.

    Now on to the real world.

    August 27, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. Buddesatva

    The problem and it certainly is not exclusively Rep. Jenkins is that people do not understand the language and have no concept of the references. As an example, to say that something is a tar baby has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a person's race. It is not related to a person's ethnicity. Yet the term, which means a situation that draws in with consequences, is now so misunderstood that it cannot be used in polite company. Rep Jenkins is NOT Glen Beck and I seriously doubt that she knew or intended to use the phrase 'great white hope' as a reference to Barack Obama's race. This is the thrashing of willfully ignorant people who are anxious to start a controversy. We have a moral obligation to be intelligent. We are living in the first country of the first world and we presume to tell Sunni to get along with Shiite, Jews to get along with Palestinians, Bosnians with Serbs, etc. What about us and our readiness to be critical, sarcastic and hyperbolic on every insignificant issue that can be turned into traction. We are better than this.

    August 27, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. J

    Color is only skin deep!
    We are all unique individuals and all men are created equal
    The only thing that different between us is our upbringing, our identity, culture and our believes.

    We should never judge others because the color of his skin that is plain wrong.

    August 27, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  4. lovable liberal

    People who start their apology with "If I offended somebody" aren't really sorry at all. They just want everyone to stop talking about their gaffes.

    August 27, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. tisha

    I'm not offened by the comment being a black women I never have or never will think the GOP party is the party for me. She meant what she said they need a "great white hope" to save the Republican party not black like Michael Steele or Indian like Bobby Jindal. I don't think to many minorities think the GOP is for them so no harm no foul.

    August 27, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Still Bushed

    The great white hope leads to devolution.

    August 27, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Lyle, CO

    Dear Lynn,

    You have to take one foot out of your mouth, before you can put another foot in. My advice to you–STOP TALKING. You're so blind to diversity and inclusiveness, you don't even know what you're saying.

    August 27, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Sore losers

    "Republicans are struggling right now to find the great white hope," I just wonder what all the Republicans of color think about this RACIST comment ? Lets hear it Mr. Steele ! what do you think ?

    August 27, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. Obama Victim

    just like Oboozo said......"typical white woman"

    August 27, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    Out of the mouth; the heart speaketh...

    August 27, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Ellen

    What a mess the Republican Party has become.

    August 27, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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