August 31st, 2008
08:06 PM ET
13 years ago

Dem apologizes for joking about hurricane


[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A YouTube video shows Fowler joking about Gustav."](CNN) - Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler apologized Sunday for recently joking Hurricane Gustav's expected landfall on the same day as the opening of the Republican National Convention suggested God was on the Democrats' side.

A YouTube video of the comments posted by the conservative blog and showed Fowler joking with South Carolina Rep. John Spratt about the timing of the hurricane while on a flight from the Democratic National Convention back to South Carolina. The person who filmed the conversation is not identified.

“The hurricane is going to hit New Orleans about the time they start. The timing is, at least it appears now, it will be there Monday. That just demonstrates God is on our side,” Fowler said, while laughing. Fowler also told Spratt that “everything’s cool.”

Speaking to the Associated Press Sunday, Fowler said his comments were intended to make light of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's remark that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 was God's punishment for abortion and homosexuality.

On Sunday, Fowler told The Associated Press that he was making fun of comments made by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said the attacks were God's punishment for abortion, homosexuality and other sins.

"I don't believe in a God that's vengeful," Fowler said. "I believe in a God that's compassionate."

"This is a point of national concern. I think everybody of good will has great empathy and sympathy for people in New Orleans," Fowler also said. "Most religious people are praying for people in New Orleans. There is no political connotation to this whatsoever. This was just poking fun at Jerry Falwell and the nonsensical thing he had said several years ago."

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson sharply criticized Fowler's comments, saying, “The outrageous behavior of two of the Obama campaign's highest profile supporters in the south is despicable, a cynical polarization of life and death. I call on Barack Obama to immediately denounce Fowler and Spratt and demand sincere apologies from these members of the Democratic leadership.”

Filed under: Extra • Uncategorized
soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. D.Johnson

    Who asking James Dubson to apologize when and his religious extremist prayed for rain on obama convention. We should also ask james to apologize.

    August 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. facts are facts

    Words are only words but John McCain's actions of going to an area where impending danger exists for no other reason than a photo op is absolutely horrible. All this accomplishes is to take more resources away from getting things done that need to be done because him and his entourage have to be protected.

    John desperately needs some sound advice from campaign managers as he rapidly becoming a laughing stock of this entire nation with his pandering for votes. People aren't that stupid as to think your presence in any area will help people in any way whatsoever.

    August 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. Anon

    Let's see the Republican Admin apologize for the statements of its religious fanatics when Katrina hit. When that's done, get on its knees and ask for forgiveness for its inept and destructive handling of the disaster. Maybe then we can get around to commenting on Fowler's remarks, which highlighted what so many of us already noticed. When the Republicans began to gather for their show, a new hurricane arose that reminded many, many citizens about how grieviously the current admin has failed. (And how Bush and McCain shared some cake, literally, while NOLA suffered.)

    August 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  4. Reality Check

    A house divided

    You are blaming Barack for divisions in the Democratic party. Why not blame your fellow party members not wanting to vote for Barack because he is a minortiy. Minorities have been voting for the Democratic party for many years. Now that its time to vote for one of them, the party is divided. I wonder if that is called discrimination within the so-called diversity party.

    What a shame. If Barack does not win because some Democrats refused to vote for him, minorities will not vote for the next nominee either. The Democratic party will be destroyed.

    August 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. Jessica

    Not one bit surprising. As a bonus, search for "Are you a good Democrat?" on youtube to see another of the Democratic spokespeople taking pleasure in the hurricane.

    Disgusting. Plain and simple.

    August 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  6. Sacha

    He's an idiot.
    He doesn't speak for all Democrats, so get a grip, A House Divided.
    Let's not discuss McCain's 'sense of humor.'

    August 31, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Ann

    McCain steals Dems thunder with Palin announcement, then God steals McCain's thunder with some big bad thunder of his own.
    There! Glad I finally got that off my chest. Prayers really do work.
    Pray for those in the storm's path y'all.

    August 31, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. Joan

    Q: Who was praying for the rain to ruin DNC convention?
    A: Lunatic Republicans.

    August 31, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. Deb

    This absolutely deplorable. I don't believe the media is letting this slip by. I can guarantee you that if a Republican had made that type of comment, it would have been the lead on every newscast. I just hate this type of politics. The democrats are so low.........

    August 31, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  10. r gabriel

    Yet another example of how the Democrats look for political gain in American misfortune.

    August 31, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  11. Roslyn in Canada

    ...grow up and get over it.....listen to Hillary if you believe in what she stands for and wants to see her biggest goal of Health care come to reality...

    August 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. Dadvocate

    To the person who brought up the Swift boat ads:

    1) Name one statement in the Swift boat ads that isn't true;

    2) This statement wasn't in poor taste, he was hoping for a hurricane to hit New Orleans to get political advantage.

    So much for the Party of the working man.

    August 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Ann

    Praying for mom and Kimmy–Praying for East Feliciana Parish.

    August 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. Lee/Vet

    Don't blame the DEMS, blame the Repugs; they were the ones praying for rain to ruin Obama's speech in INVESCO. Be careful of what you pray for, it may have the wrong intended effects. That said, I have family and friends in NOLA who lost everything during Katrina; they just rebuilt their home in NOLA east. Now this again. I pray that GOD watches over the city of NOLA and it's people.

    August 31, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. JImmy in California

    While I am a hard core supporter of Barcak Obama and I take my share of pot shots at Senator McCain, this coming storm is no time to be politicking against either of them. I think the remarks were insensitive and out of line. I am ashamed that, not a Democrat, but a human being would make lite of this pending disaster. I offer my apologies to all that were offended including my self as I was offended too.

    August 31, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. ben

    Those of you that think mankind can alter the course of nature, I have a great idea! Let some other idiot explain smoking causes hurricanes,and that way the overwhelmind majority of Americans will demand a federal law against smoking after millions and millions of years the surface of our planet has undergone millions and millions of changes. Human beings are not capable of changing nature for better or worse. So all the northern ice is melting most likely it has come and gone thousands of times! So, if you want to believe chicken little then the sky is falling!

    August 31, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. Carolyn

    Please, do not put politics and weather in the same bucket.
    Not good at all.
    What happens happens, and if you are a good person, you will be ready to help.

    August 31, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  18. projectial barfing

    Well said, house.

    August 31, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. Matthew

    Dobson, Focus on the Family et al had asked their followers to pray for rain during Obama's acceptance speech.

    Did the McCain campaign denounce them?

    August 31, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. MsUnderestimated

    Swift Boat Ads? Are you serious? The Swift Boat Ads were never proven false, and none of them praised something that could possibly involve the deaths of many, and the destruction of whole cities. What an idiot you are. There is no moral equivalence, and you trying to equate the two is ridiculous.

    August 31, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Sam in Maryland

    Better than Fallwell or any other Republicans did after they made horribly appalling comments about Katrina.

    What a surprise, a Democrat APOLOGIZED for making a mistake. That's not BAD news, but if a Republicon-man ever apologized to anyone for anything: STOP THE PRESSES!

    August 31, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. Ron in Philly

    How amazing that the Republicans were praying for rain last Thursday!

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. RLE SacTown - Independent

    Yeah, a house divided indeed. By whom, ignorance.

    Obama is the balme, right. Don Fowler is a grown man and he made those comments. How can just link everyone else's comments to Obama?

    If you do not like him, vote for whoever it is that you want. But, if you're going to make him responsible for something another individual said, it's sad.

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. David Evans

    Have no fear. We've got them just where we want them. Obama and Biden will show the great leadership that our country needs.

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  25. Ellen

    The Right said it first about praying to God for bad weather to pour don on the DNC WHY WAS THAT NOT MENTIONED?

    August 31, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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