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Defending Raghead Comment, South Carolina State Senator Says ‘We’re At War’ With Foreign Countries

By Alex Seitz-Wald on June 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

"Defending Raghead Comment, South Carolina State Senator Says ‘We’re At War’ With Foreign Countries"

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Knotts2As many bloggers have noted, South Carolina state Sen. Jake Knotts (R) has been taking heat for calling an Indian-American gubernatorial candidate a “raghead.” “We already got one raghead in the White House, we don’t need a raghead in the governor’s mansion,” Knotts said of state Rep. Nikki Haley (R).

The South Carolina Republican Party quickly condemned Knotts’ slur, and he eventually issued an apology. “My ‘raghead’ comments about Obama and Haley were intended in jest,” Knotts said in a statement. He made the comments during an interview with the webcast Pub Politics, and defended himself by saying, “Bear in mind this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It’s like local political version of Saturday Night Live.”

Pub Politics disagreed, saying Knotts’ hateful rhetoric “does not fit with our program and its goals.” They’ve announced that they won’t release the audio, but a better decision would be to post the clip of Knott’s comment on the Internet without airing the episode so that there’s a public audio record of Knott’s comment.

Knotts’ apology seems insincere. He “defended his remarks” immediately following the interview while talking to reporters, and upped his rhetoric then by calling Haley a “f**king raghead.” He then avoided retracting the comment, clarifying to say “he did not mean to use the F-word.” He also repeated his line about the “raghead in the White House,” and said, “This isn’t the first time I’ve said it.” Knotts went on to say that Haley — who was raised as a Sikh but later converted to Christianity — was not Christian enough to govern South Carolina, and that she was being directed by a secret cabal of Sikhs:

Knotts says he believed Haley has been set up by a network of Sikhs and was programmed to run for governor of South Carolina by outside influences in foreign countries. He claims she is hiding her religion and he wants the voters to know about it. [...]

“We need a good Christian to be our governor,” he said. “She’s hiding her religion. She ought to be proud of it. I’m proud of my god.”

Knotts says he believes Haley’s father has been sending letters to India saying that Haley is the first Sikh running for high office in America. He says her father walks around Lexington wearing a turban.

We’re at war over there,” Knotts said.

Asked to clarify, he said he did not mean the United States was at war with India, but was at war with “foreign countries.”

Knotts’ hateful slur may cost him his career. Former Lexington County GOP chairwoman Katrina Shealy told CNN today that “Knotts’ ‘raghead’ remark prompted her to make a very early entry into the race that won’t happen for two years.” “The political climate out there is so ugly. I am sick and tired of the negative politics,” Shealy said. Eighty percent of people on a local TV station’s poll said Knotts should be “officially reprimand.”

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