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. Jane Hebert

    When my children were young I used to tell them to think before you tease,make fun, say something ugly, because once those words leave your mouth, you can't take them back. You have already hurt someone else and saying "I was just kidding" will not wipe out the bad feelings you have caused.
    I think all sides need to learn that lesson especially the Michael Moores of the world. And the ex leader of a party? What kind of leader is that?

    August 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. Bev

    Hey, wasn't it the right winged christians that were praying for rain on the last day of the Democratic convention? Ha ha, they said, can't you take a joke? Well, now GOP, the joke's on you! You always thought God was vengeful to everyone but you...or else Falwell wants to show you the error of your ways.

    August 31, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. CT in DC

    A house divided:
    what in the world does his statement have to do with Obama. Please get serious to the topic.
    Keep hating, hater.

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Dee

    Actually that was exactly what I was thinking...God is for Democrats this year- esp after that Conservative Republican Dobson asked everyone to pray for bad weather during Democrats convention.

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  5. john

    I am a strong supporter of Obama, but I'm sure liek Obama in no way condone these comments. maybe a little more done than by many of Mccains staffs actions. Did Mccain ever apologize for the joke he made of how ugly Chelsea Clinton was, calling Janet Reno her dad? You Clinton supporters may want to remember that when you think about casting a vote for Mccain.

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  6. steve

    this is the problem with many of those on the religious "right" (and i know, because i was once one of their ranks): they aren't sophisticated enough to understand or appreciate satire. when everything has to be completely literal, we all miss the real truth . . .

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  7. Former McCain Constituent

    People have very short memories. Focus On America created a video, asking politically-conservative Christians to pray for rain on Aug. 28, in order to disrupt Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention. I guess trying to "use God" goes only one way, huh??????????

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. Dzster

    Oh Jeeze! Repubs grasping at straws to make anybody on the Dem. side appear in a negative light of some sort but shhhh!–let's don't talk about the Repub minister who called on an entire Repub rally to pray for rain the week of the Dem. convention-shhhh! Let's keep that mum, folks!! LOL!

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. Apologies all around!

    No, what needs to be done is to have President Bush and all of the republicans apologize for the way the folks of New Orleans were treated when Katrina hit. Actions speak louder than words, and Bush's actions as he flew over New Orleans when Katrina hit, SPOKE LOUD AND CLEAR!!! Stop blaming Obama for everything!

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Angry


    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  11. Tylenol 666

    so far all we know is that there is a storm hitting and politics taking advantage of this ,, wen did we becomne so souless?

    Obama/Biden 08

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. Concerned Citizen

    Christian rightwingers PRAYED that it rains and floods during the DNC convention. Politics of the past eight years of divide and rule, I suppose.

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Mike, San Jose, CA

    This is silly. He wants Obama to denounce and reject comments from some guy no one knows or cares about. Obama wasnt there and could probably not care less what this joker says. Fowler is irresponsible with his private comments. Falwell is irresponsible with his public comments. Come ce come ca

    August 31, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. Clo sheridan

    I am sure it was by mistake or taken out of context...unlike the negativity of the McCain swift boat tactics

    August 31, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  15. Helen, NY

    Don Fowler is a part of Democratic machine under Barack's command. This is what it is. Meanness and do-not-care attitude. I wonder what NAACP has to say. CNN will not publish my comments because it will really hurt them. Truth really hurts. You cannot expect good things from Barack or his gang.

    August 31, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. BlueDog Dem

    Hey "a House Divided" are not a Democrat–you are a Republican who is following your guru, Rush Limbaugh's strategy of fomenting discord in the Democratic Party.
    As a Republican, you have some nerve accusing Democrats of not caring...let's see...AIDS crisis in the 80's...Health Car in the 90's...Katrina in the 2000's,,,,the environment since 1964...the list goes on and on...
    See you in November "House" you and the Limbaugh's Coulter's O'Reilly's and Hannity's of this great nation will be relegated to the dust bin of history.

    August 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  17. Koffi

    The some right wingers "prayed" that for it to rain in Denver. Usually when one "prays" for the demise of others; it usually happens to the one who "prayed"; that is, when you dig one ditch, two should be dugged.

    August 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  18. KEESA

    i beleive with the man is saying because they had a billboard up in denver telling all republicans to pray for rain on the day obama gives his acceptance speech in invesco field . all i got to say is god dont like ugly

    August 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  19. M. Felder

    It's ironic that conservatives were praying for rain during the democratic convention. I wonder what the universe is saying with Gustav?

    August 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  20. S. Boatman

    I Think This Was Just A Bad Sense Of Humor, No Harm Done. Im Not Happy About The Storm But I Am Happy The Republican Convention Is In Shambles! I Would Have To Watch That All Week! All Day They Would Be Trying To Spin This Mccain V P Choice As The Greatest Ever! There Is Not Enough Spin In The World To Make Me Beleive This Woman Could Fill The Role As President Should Something Happen To Mccain!

    August 31, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  21. easy brown

    right wing nutcase? guess that makes fowler a left wing nutcase. it is good to know how the democrates really feel about america and the possible upcoming natural disaster.

    August 31, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  22. pam Eugene OR

    Get a grip. Obama did not say it and was no where near the conversation. I am sick to death of Barack being held responsible for what everyone says. Baback speaks for Barack!
    Why don't you republican idiots get that?
    We are all praying for the people of the Gulf Coast. Stop POLITICING for a minute folks.

    August 31, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. RML

    Why is it that Barack Obama has to be held accountable for everything anyone supporting him says? Are we not all adults and responsible for our own actions? To suggest that somehow this reflects on all Democrats or Obama himself is ridiculous!!

    August 31, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. Yolanda for Obama - Biden 08

    The joke is the Republican Party. Yes, Democrats are fighters we're not going to sit by and let you cheaters rob America this time around.

    Democrats are always the ones who take the .....
    Each time, we get a little bolder, and a little stronger and this time
    we are coming hard. You like to play hard ball right. Well this time we bringing our A game.

    We are unified and it scares you. We are the most organized, team players we've ever been and you know it. We're coming, so watch out.

    August 31, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. elaine chismer

    who is the mean party?

    August 31, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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