September 1st, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 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.

"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.”

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. Old man

    Why is this important? Yeah the guy was joking, yeah it pokes fun at an impending storm. I don't really see any attack or harm in this joke though. It's not like he said it to the convention or on air - I mean think about any comment you have made in the past and imagine some creep filmed it and put it on youtube. But I guess there's always the excuse: but I'm not a politician....

    September 1, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  2. Rob

    No Obama would never do things out of popularity, like create a Greek altar as his acceptance speech in front of 80,000+ plus groupies rather than the convention site. Running on change is an old philosophy, we had Carter change and a democratic congress–no change, Clinton and a democratic congress (until the people woke up) and no change, now we have Nobama and will will have no change. Hope is not a strategy.

    September 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  3. Matt B

    So is the hurrican fizzles out will McCain and Bush drop their phony show of concern for the hurricane victims and commence with the bashing of Obama in Minneapolis ?

    September 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. Yeah right

    And I call on the GOP to denounce McCain for eating cate with Bush when Katrina flooded the streets

    September 1, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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