September 14th, 2010
09:23 AM ET
12 years ago

Former GOP leader apologizes to Obama, calls Republicans 'racist'

Miami, Florida (CNN) - The ex-chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, is now apologizing for stoking fears about President Obama's address to school children last year.

Greer, now under indictment on fraud and money-laundering charges after being drummed out of the state party, also accused "many within the GOP" of having "racist views."

In September 2009, conservatives raised questions about the motives of president's back-to-school speech, which was beamed into many of the nation's classrooms. Greer was among them, charging that "taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology."

"While I support educating our children to respect both the office of the American President and the value of community service, I do not support using our children as tools to spread liberal propaganda," he said then in a statement that made waves around the country.

Greer is now apologizing for those comments.

"In the year since I issued a prepared statement regarding President Obama speaking to the nation's school children, I have learned a great deal about the party I so deeply loved and served," Greer said in a statement Tuesday to CNN and other media outlets.

"Unfortunately, I found that many within the GOP have racist views and I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our Party today. My children and I look forward to the President's speech."

Filed under: Jim Greer • President Obama
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Gary

    It takes a lot for someone to admit they were wrong. Thanks for speaking out.

    September 14, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. The Truth Hurts

    WOW... I'm sure...there is a reason why this guy has come out and been truthful about this situation, why else would he be honest? But really, is he saying anything the rest of us don't already know???

    September 14, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. WIL in the VA.

    Amen brother can we get another who is willing to come forth and tell the truth. The doors of the truth are open can we get another

    September 14, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. JHR

    It takes one to know one...they say.

    September 14, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. Roger

    A republican admitting that many within the pary have racist views. Well it's a start. However we all know what will be coming from the republicans. They'll say it's sour grapes since he's under indictment for money laundering so he can't be trusted. He'll say anything to catch a break. A lot of republicans aren't racist but they certainly are xenophobic.

    September 14, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. katiec

    What better motivation could there be then for school children hearing the president talk to them about the importance of education? How, with his background that any and everyone of them can succeed?
    The narrow mindedness, bigotry, discrimination, bias of some has gone to the irresponsible extreme.

    September 14, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. John

    Everyone know the republican party is racist,just look at Saran Palin,the tea party and Glenn beck.

    September 14, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. Dan, TX

    Don't pay attention to this reasonable statement. Let's call each other names and destroy our country as our Lord Bin Laden has asked.

    September 14, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Wow! A Republican admitting that the party has racist views! Who would ever believe that was true!

    September 14, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  10. TM

    The GOP is slowly learning that embracing the Tea Party may be a bad idea. They are like the frog who, despite it's better judgement agreed to let a scorpion ride on its back as it crossed the river. The scorpion promised it would not sting the frog, since that would doom them both. Half way across, the scorpion stung the frog. As it stated to drown, the frog asked the scorpion "why did you do that, now we will both die?" The scorpion responded "I could not help myself, it is my nature". The Tea(bag) Party may be good at stirring up the anger of the Republican base but they are also filling that party with a venom that may drown them in November.

    September 14, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. Huckleberry

    Way to go Jim!! You made it all better. Later you can have juice and cookies.

    September 14, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. King

    Now theyre finding out that powerful have their top notch psychologist that shows them how to control the masses through fare and intolerence.

    September 14, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. Whatever

    WHAT A JOKE!!!! Now that he is in trouble, he wants to "clear" his guilty conscience. Oh please... most of us know the views of the GOP (which has changed drastically in the past 2 years hence I changed my party affiliation to Independent).

    September 14, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. rta

    racism and obstructionism is alive and kicking in this country thanks to the republican party and tea party, oh i forgot they are one and the same. the rhetoric, and the inflammatory comments from palin, limbaugh, beck, angle, miller, bachman has done so much damage to our country, i fear for it.
    the message that it sends our children is disgraceful

    September 14, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. sonny chapman

    So many dirty little secrets. GOP-one sick bunch of people.

    September 14, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. malabar

    Under indictment? claims racism? what is . . . a democrat? hahaha

    September 14, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Mikey

    While we will never really know how much of the "I hate Obama" campaign is driven by racism, there is one thing that is true: the hyperbolic disrespect for our President, and by extension, the Office of the President, is not good for our country or for our society.

    When I grew up, there was a general respect for our Country and its institutions, especially the Presidency. That respect has eroded significantly, and it has much more to do with changes in our society than in the Government.

    I can't imagine what the next generation is learning about our country and about what it means to be an American, as they grow up watching the chlidish disrespectful behavior of what are supposed to be mature adults.

    September 14, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Jack

    His change of heart and statements are probably part of his plea agreement. He has to make the Democrats look good or he gets 20 years more on his prison term.

    September 14, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Roger in StL

    I would say "good for you in saying the right thing" but where were your principles back then? In my opinion, your words were too little, too late.

    Maybe if you'd spoken about what you knew was true (a pep talk to school students to make them do better in class has nothing to do with "socialism") back then you yourself wouldn't be viewed as a racist now, along with the rest of your party.

    September 14, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. marco60

    Very touching and sincere. Spoken from the heart.

    September 14, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Brett Favre's fan (a.k.a. ybs)

    Jim Greer said it all, "I apologize to the President for my opposition to his speech last year and my efforts to placate the extremists who dominate our Party [GOP] today."

    We have the best president who has to, in addition to cleaning up the economy & Iraqi mess, slug it out with the GOP thugs.

    I voted for Reagan (twice) and I'm not black. I'll not vote for the GOP again until they have cleaned up their act.

    September 14, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. Concerned

    The GOP is racist? Ladies and gentlemen, another "Duh Magazine" exclusive from Captain Obvious.

    The Klan, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, The United Daughters of the Confederacy, and other hate groups are all racist. And these are the rank and file minions that the GOP panders to. All of these groups, by and large, vote Republican.

    And many don't care at all that GOP policies only benefit the wealthy and big business. The basest elements of society are hoodwinked by the "big government" scare tactics of the GOP.

    This Greer loser has shown his true colors, and his apology is a day late and a dollar short. And it's only because he's in trouble.

    That's how the GOP rolls.

    September 14, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. Gonzales

    Unfortunately Mr Greer is not telling anyone anything new...

    September 14, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. WB

    No doubt that the Republican party is hijacked by the extremists and sometimes racists. I am what you can call a hard core Republican, I am against raising taxes, small government and fiscally conservative but still I don't feel I can belong to this party. It is a shame that you have to be an extremist to be a Republican! BTW, I am not a Democrat and I will be voting to governor Charlie Crist in Florida, I think the independents are the future of America.

    September 14, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  25. Flipper

    Hmmm, let's see. Greer is under indictment for serious crimes with the Feds. Then he apologizes to Obama & then calls many Republicans "racist." sounds like someone is looking for a plea-bargain.

    September 14, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
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