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.”

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soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. John

    I think the real joke is all the republicans trying to act like they give a crap about Louisiana. I think its funny how the republicans go on and on about god and religion and now god is punishing them by putting a big hitch in their convention. Between the extremist, unqualified VP candidate they just nominated and the hurricane, I hope this is the last nail in the GOP's coffin this election.

    August 31, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. Carolyn

    I think what he was saying was that Karma has come around and bit the Religious Right in the @@3. Telling people to pray for rain of biblical proportions at Obama's speech in Denver. Well, who's convention is getting rained out? The group that started all this praying for rain in the first place. Be careful what you pray for or at least be really specific.

    August 31, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. Sara Discusted

    This man has lost touch. That is the most insensitive inappropriate thing someone could say, let alone leadership. I would expect that kind of disrespect from an abusive out of touch 13 year old boy who has to be dragged out of the grocery store by his mother and sternly told not to talk that way.
    I love that SO MANY in politics have such a difficult time taking responsibility for what they do and say... It was in response to reverend so and so please find your soul and do some reconstruction. Mr. Fowler needs to spend some time with people who are hurting.. Lord have mercy

    August 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Terry from GA

    At least he was man enough to apologize for his inappropriate joke. Why didn't McCain speak out against Reverend James Dobson who prayed for it to rain on the final day of the Democratic convention when Barack accpeted the nomination?

    August 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. go away mongers- Ventura ca

    Rev Haggee had no problem with calling Katrina a judgement against New Orleans for it's sin- Too bad the news media didn't ride that one all the way to the logical conclusion.
    I think it's time the media quit taking jokes and satire and concentrated on the ISSUES.
    There is nothing funny about a hurricane-at all- but to turn Hagee's remarks around has been done by many of us in the last few days- and the media needs to focus on WHY the Country is in such horrible shape.

    August 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. ET

    He should never be aloud to be on tv or radio again.

    August 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. Anne

    Know what I hate? The Republican Party getting people to think they care what happens to the Little people and the stupid redneck idiots that believe it. Mr or Miss Lower Income American, do you really think Mr 7 house McCain cares one bit if you lose your home or car or job? If you do you are a flaming idiot and deserve to lose them.. the only thing he doesn't want lost is your vote!! WISE UP...Dems 2008!!!!

    August 31, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Obama's campaign strategy

    More dispicable and tasteless behavior from among the Obama-inspired.

    Can you imagine what an entire Nation of zombies doing the bidding of their supreme leader, Obama, would be like?

    Hatred and chaos flooding the streets of Amerika.

    The democrats could not even be civil to each other and their own candidates throughout the primary.

    Obama seems to bring out the lowest basal instincts in his supporters.

    August 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. ernie flores

    Dumb, just plain dumb. I can just imagine what other things they may have said we don't know about. These same kind of people probably make racist remarks too; especially being from SC,

    August 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. irene


    August 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  11. Matt in VA

    "Another Republican smokescreen at work"??? How about another example of liberal aka Democrat insensitivity. Not only is he using the potential suffering of a population who is just starting to recover from 3 years ago but he is making fun of a dead man? Of course he is just following the lead of that other liberal stalWART, Michael Moore. This is more of an example of the audacity of hate. Were I to stoop so low I would say Obama is just another brain aneurysm away from finding another VP. I might also say I am beginning to believe that liberals suffer the same malady as Teddy... brain cancer. Of course I prefer to take a much higher road and would never say those things.

    August 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  12. Enraged

    Joking about people dieing is not funny, period.

    August 31, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. NC Resident

    Why aren't you all denouncing Stuart Shepard of the Family in Action who told people to pray for rain during Obama's speech.
    Republicans are hypocrites and so are those who call on Obama to take action.

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  14. Drew

    In other news, Republicans are now IN FAVOR of shocked and breathless political correctness when it serves their purposes.

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  15. Anna


    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. This has nothing to do with OBAMA

    It's so funny when republicans get on here and starting linking every little thing a democrat says to OBAMA. Obama didn't even make that statement. This man isn't responsible for every little thing a democrat says. My goodness - and even if he denounces them - guess what - McCain still isn't getting their support or vote and he certainly isn't getting mine.

    Well you know what I can link to republicans - the KKK, job loss, a f@cked up economy, high gas prices, the war, both BUSH presidents, the list goes on...

    Yes - that's a horrible thing to say - plain disgusting - but don't crucify Obama over it..

    Good grief!

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. Jason Moyer

    And tonight, Keith Obberman will not report on this or will report that God DOES hate the Republicans and here is proof...He is a joke of a journalist...I loved his commentary back in the ESPN days....Like many rock stars, they are great until they open their mouths and talk politics...

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. RJ

    As McCain have said...get a life.

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. Re: Anonymous

    How is the seriousness of this situation political fodder... BAD FORM

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  20. William A. Schaedler

    This is not surprising considering the source of this comment is someone totally useless. A politician. The very thought of a politician conjures up a vision of total uselessness if there is such a thing. Perhaps parasite would be a better choice.

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  21. LongJohnson

    Didn't take long for Fowler to crawl out from under his rock and pretend this was all a joke. Pathetic democRATic scum with no regard for people. How long before Obama denies ever knowing Fowler and the congressional sap sitting next to Fowler on this flight.

    August 31, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  22. Scott Tucson

    Just goes to show you that the Dem leadership really don't care for the people, just themselves.

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

    Sick. Interesting what you learn when people think they are in private. No excuse for joking, also dragging in a dead man to try and justify it. Do the Dems really think that most Americans are that stupid?

    August 31, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  24. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    This is all getting very ridiculous.

    Wasn't it Dr. Dobsen who was praying fervently that rainstorms would wash out the Democratic convention?

    Yes, people say stupid things, but I'm praying that God has a sense of humor. By the looks of comments by both parties, He does indeed.

    August 31, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  25. russell hurd

    he is not sorry he said it. he is only sorry the wrong person heard him say it.

    August 31, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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