December 4th, 2007
08:10 AM ET
15 years ago

Candidates embrace Imus comeback

Don Imus returned to radio this week, eight months after he was taken off the air.

(CNN) - As Don Imus ended his exile from the airwaves Monday, presidential candidates rushed to welcome him back - contenders Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, both called in to his first show. Tuesday morning, Republican Mike Huckabee and Democrat Bill Richardson will both be guests by phone.

Earlier this year, McCain and Huckabee both called for forgiveness in the wake of the Imus scandal.

"He's continued to have me on his show when I said stupid things," the former Arkansas governor told USA Today. "What Imus said was wrong, but he seems genuinely sorry. He's certainly not the first celebrity to put his foot in his mouth - and he won't be the last."

On Monday, presidential contenders seemed ready to forgive and forget. McCain ended his interview by telling Imus, “Welcome back, old friend.” Later, Dodd echoed the sentiment: “Welcome home.”

A Richardson spokesman told CNN Monday that while “the governor was upset” over Imus’ comments, he believes “this is a country of second chances.”

Richardson was a frequent guest and occasional sparring partner of Imus on his previous show. The radio host has a ranch in New Mexico, where Richardson is governor.

Campaign spokesman Tom Reynolds said Imus’ staff reached out to the candidate to return to the show, adding that “Imus has pledged to use his position to discuss race and sensitive issues in a more delicate manner.”

Other candidates, like former New York City mayor and Republican contender Rudy Giuliani, have signaled their willingness to be interviewed by Imus.

But some, like Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, may be less forgiving. "The comments of Don Imus were divisive, hurtful and offensive to Americans of all backgrounds," Obama told USA Today earlier this year. "With a public platform comes a trust. As far as I'm concerned, he violated that trust."

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Mark, Shreveport, La

    Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" comment, and Al Sharpton's Tawanna Brawley escaped, and their efforts to get charges dropped against black students who assaulted and viciously beat a fellow student are FAR more offensive than anything Imus said! But who will Obama, Clinton, etc have their photos taken with if they get the nomination...

    December 4, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |

    That is NOT a COWBOY hat. As anyone who knows what cowboys where on their heads would know, not that you in Pennsylvania or some idiot in Mary-land would know much about cowboys, but that is a hat normally worn by westerners, or even farmers especially in the southwest, and California where Don Imus is from.

    AND... he actually owns a RANCH in ARIZONA, where he helps kids, more than what I dare say you do.

    NOW, having said that... I ACTUALLY KNEW Mr. Imus in 1988/1989 when i chauffeured for him, and I always found him to be a GENTLEMAN of the HIGHEST CALIBER, generous with courtesy and respect. He never espoused any racially motivated remarks, he never showed any signs of his being a snob.

    Don Imus is not the son of some Oil Baron. He is also a U. S. Marine!

    What are your skeletons?

    December 4, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Steve in SC

    Hey Obama,

    At least Imus apologized! Can we say the same about Jessie and Al concerning the Duke Lacrosse team? I think not! As a Christian, forgiveness is not negotiable!
    Aaron in Maryland ,
    He wears a cowboy hat because he wants to. In addition, he has a ranch in New Mexico, so that would make him a rancher. Anything else you need to whine about?

    December 4, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Steven, WV

    any "nappy headed hoes on the CNN Political Ticker? willing to comment"

    December 4, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. kathe oakland, california

    This is no surprise afterall the House and Senate welcomed back a dud like Trent Lott, have a President who is clearly a what else is new in our goverment except lies, greed, dishonesty and no values, morales. And if all these folks who think Bush is such a great President – look at mistakes in Iran that is why we are killing our soldiers in Iraq – LIES, LIES LIES.
    And Bush, give me a break, who and what country does not know how to make a BOMB DU!!!!!

    December 4, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Terry, El Paso, TX

    Imus's comment about the Black women on that basketball team was tasteless but he was actually praising them in the backwards way that is popular among sports fans, as in: "Those ____ __ _______ (SOB's) played their hearts out tonight, didn't they Jim?" Imus strikes me as a decent guy and he tried to do the right thing: he immediately acknowledged his mistake, he apologized, he asked contritely for forgiveness, and he apparently made some financial donations to causes that are important to those he offended. What more can we ask? Let him or her who has NEVER used a racial epithet cast the first stone.

    What I can't figure out is how Imus got a job in the first place. Aside from the fact that he has no looks, no brains, and no talent, he is so boring that I can feel brain cells dying inside my skull if I ever listen to him for more than a minute.

    December 4, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. kathe oakland california

    Hey JIM in IRMO: Thank God. I thought I was the only one who actually listens to what our politicans say and when they said it!!! You know of course CNN is for Hil, FOX is for whoever is crooked, and rest of media and newspapers well they have nothing else to do ecxcept report negative items – whether they are true or not.
    I find it real odd that for past month, we have had not reports and updates daily on any stations about the WAR and our soldiers... Are we suppose to be stupid Americans????

    December 4, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. AJ, IL

    What are bloggers falling prey to? Those comments by powerful media personality were divise and hurtful. As an African-American, I thought that Imus deserved a second chance. He publicly apologized for his comments, something Imus rarely if ever does on the air. I'm no fan of Imus but I'm willing forgive (but not forget) this incident. I've never listened to his program and probably never will. The comments that Obama made as CNN (Clinton News Network) points out were made earlier this year when the Imus incident became very public. It is interesting how CNN list the few current positive remarks from some Republican (McCain & Rudy) and Democratic (Dodd & Richardson)candidates towards Imus, but publish comments from Obama that were made in April 2007 to make it appear as though Obama said these comments in December 2007.

    CNN did not bother to quote Hillary's response to Imus. Hillary called Imus's comments "small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism." (earlier this year).

    December 4, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Chet, Lake Havasu, AZ

    $5 million for a 1 share. Forget Imus' relavance, no ones listening to him. If Imus is a cowboy, Bush is a fighter pilot.

    December 4, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. James, Oklahoma City, OK

    Is this seriously the level of debate that's being had in America? Is this really where we are, a land where only those we choose to get second chances do so unless the power is there to prevent said second chance. Where are the Rutgers women today? Where are you today? Where am I today? By and large all of us are in no better or worse position today than the day the comment was made. The comments have not harmed (and offense is different than harm), and they have not driven those so outraged to raise us up. I find it sad that this remains a divisive issue 8 months later. We as a country will never transcend our big issues if we cannot transcend this one.

    December 4, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. Steve, SC

    Steven in WV,

    Are you actually proud of yourself? I hope your dumb comment is removed by CNN! Tasteless, useless, and nonsensical! Surely you can do better!

    December 4, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Michael Arnaud-Glen Burnie, MD.

    Don Imus makes a racist comment on air and is nearly run out of radio by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for it. Try this on for size, Ray Nagin the Mayor of New Orleans, who is a black man, after Hurricane Katrina, says that before the hurricane the city was a "Black City" and should be returned to being a "Black City." If that wasn't a racist comment I don't know what is. Are black people in America allowed to make racist comments and say it's covered by the First Amendment, but white people have to watch what they say because it might offend someone. Can we all say double standard?

    December 4, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Hey Wayne, how about Ya'll provide some detail on the hatred that they spew.

    Posted By Tom – Dedham, Mass : December 4, 2007 11:46 am

    Too much to list here, Tom. You're either too blind to see the hatred (especially with Savage and Levin), or you're as hate-filled as they are.

    So tell us, Tom – which is it?

    December 4, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. demwit

    Being offended by Imus is like being offended by Jesse. Two peas in an inverse pod..

    December 4, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Hey Wayne, how about Ya'll provide some detail on the hatred that they spew.

    Posted By Tom – Dedham, Mass : December 4, 2007 11:46 am

    Too much to list here, Tom. You're either too blind to see the hatred (especially with Savage and Levin), or you're as hate-filled as they are.

    So tell us, Tom – which is it?

    Posted By Wayne, Greenville TX : December 4, 2007 3:33 pm

    Actually Wayne, it's more like I am amazed by your lack of facts EVER on a posting.

    Since you are typical of the factless crowd that just "yaks on and on with no relevence or purpose" I will help you along.

    Has Hannitty (for instance) ever said anything CLOSE to calling innocent young woman (just like my earlier posing I SAY INNOCENT, now is that hateful to ya'll), "nappy headed ho's"?

    Nope, you can disagree with him on opinions, but don't write factless lies.

    You mention O'Reilly as well who had Sharpton on last night discussing this very subject and he gave him a platform, in fact he gave this lying piece of crap TOO MUCH of a platform.

    Just like I wrote earlier, listen to NPR all you want, but listen and watch MANY DIFFERENT viewpoints and you might actually learn something, just like I do with Olbermann and Matthews.

    A closed mind, stops learning.

    December 4, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. SAD,LA.


    December 4, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    I like you easily offended types telling me I'm stereotypical. I don't need to dress up like John Wayne to go slaughter a beef or fix a fence. That's because I'm practical, a t-shirt and jeans. A crisp clean Stetson with no sweat in it is my opinion making statement that I personally find pompous. I think land baron or too much Walker Texas Ranger. Last time I was in texas I couldn't find a person that could speak english much less a cowboy. Us appalachian maryland types don't take too much little boys who play dress up. Or some left coaster, that denies that a man with a "cowboy hat" on all the time isn't trying establish some rugged rancher persona, even though his eyes and his hands tell me different. I don't need a hat to convince other people I'm a rugged man. No overcompensation required.

    December 4, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  18. Sara, Tulsa, OK

    "Aaron Smithsburg of Maryland, your post was absolutely brilliant. Thank you.

    Posted By Mary, Beaver, PA "


    Then, Mary, one can only conclude that both you and Aaron are narrowminded, stereotype-wielding morons...positioned a couple of rungs below Imus on the social ladder.

    December 5, 2007 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  19. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    I pick my battles well and you'll never call me close minded. Just because someone helps children, doesn't mean their not a egocentric fashion victim. Most of these wealthy "cowboy" types have to do charity work or they'll be eaten alive in taxes. Not to mention their conscience, they've stepped over so many heads to get to the top they wouldn't be able to get to sleep at night without a little repentance. Oh yeah to all you southern homebodies that defend a closet racist like Imus, thank you your just making my point, that white collar cowboys are pushovers and without their daddies money and their dumb, white, church mouse friends they'd amount to nothing. They'd be the charity if it wasn't for their land baron daddies and grandfathers.

    December 5, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
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