(CNN) – A member of the Tea Party Express leadership defended a satirical letter Friday that he says was intended to spark discussion but has instead erupted into a national controversy.
Saying he wanted to make a "serious point about the hypocrisy in the NAACP" and that he hoped to "get the dialogue going," Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams said on CNN's John King, USA that he has made some apologies because "what I said, and the way I said it, was getting in the way."
Earlier this week, and apparently in reaction to an NAACP resolution regarding racist behavior exhibited by some attendees at Tea Party events, Williams published a mock letter from NAACP president Benjamin Jealous to the late President Abraham Lincoln, which Williams has since removed from his blog.
"Dear Mr. Lincoln," the blog post read, "We [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People have taken a vote and decided that we don't cotton to that whole emancipation thing. Freedom means having to work for real, think for ourselves, and take consequences along with the rewards. That is just far too much to ask of us [National Association for the Advancement of] Colored People and we demand that it stop!"
And on Friday, while sometimes sounding a note of contrition, Williams said that the blog post did what he intended.
"What I did was successful, and I'm glad it was successful. I'm sorry I had to go to those lengths to slap some sense into a lot of people who are so afraid of politically incorrect language that we can't get a conversation started," Williams told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
But in the course of defending his post, Williams said that the NAACP resolution passed earlier this week in Kansas City was the work of "race baiters."
"I would have far preferred to be on stage at the NAACP convention explaining to the assembled membership why it was so important for them to join with the Tea Party movement rather than stand there, listening to screeds from race baiters about what racists we were, because that was a complete lie," Williams said.
Williams made several modifications to his blog post after its initial posting, including removing references to bailouts as "big money welfare" that should handed "directly to us coloreds" and Tea Party demands for lower taxes preventing black Americans from getting "a wide-screen TV in every room." He said on his website that he made the changes after listening to "reasonable" commenters who suggested his language was not helpful.
In a personal note on his blog posted Friday afternoon, Williams explained his decision to remove the controversial mock letter entirely.
"I learned this morning that Ben Jealous, author of the NAACP anti-tea party resolution has offered something of an olive branch and wants to open discussions with tea partiers regarding dialing down the unproductive shots going back and forth," Williams wrote.
Although Jealous disputed the version of events offered by Williams, the civil rights leader said he was open to meeting with the Tea Party activist.
"I have not reached out to Mark Williams nor have we made statements against the Tea Party. We have simply called on the leaders to repudiate racist elements in their ranks … If Mark Williams does so, I would be happy to sit down and talk with him," Jealous said in a statement to CNN.
- CNN's Martina Stewart and Roland S. Martin contributed to this report