Mike Parry, a Republican Party-endorsed candidate for the 23rd district state Senate seat in southern Minnesota, is under fire, first for posting that President Barack Obama is a "Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man," and then for deleting his tweets after critics discovered the thinly-veiled racist post. The storm of criticism finally got his attention, and he issued an apology -- of sorts -- yesterday, right before a DFL press conference was scheduled to rake him over the coals.
Bloggers, including at MN Progressive Project and Bluestem Prairie, have been covering the hell out of Parry's predicament, after an initial alert from the @mngop Twitter feed. The local papers have since picked up the story, and it's migrated to a national audience on the Web sites Technorati and memeorandum.
In an interview posted Jan. 5 in the Waseca County News, Parry reiterated his statement, and then went further:
My opinion is that our president is arrogant and angry. The fact is that he is a black man. Now if the Democratic Party and the liberals want to take my opinion and the fact and mix it together and use it to bring a bad light about me and keep them away from discussing the real issues they can do that all they want. They're grasping for straws.
Parry, who wants to replace the retiring Dick Day, later changed his tune a little bit in a press release, blaming the scrubs on staffers, but insisting that when he called the country's first black president an "arrogant black man" he was trying to say something about ... economics.
I sincerely apologize for past tweets which were written in haste and out of the frustration I felt for the out-of-control spending in Washington. Given the fragile state of our economy and the kind of out of control and wasteful spending we're seeing from Democrats, the people of Senate District 26 must have an election about the future. While volunteers to my campaign removed several tweets without my knowledge, I take full responsibility for all mistakes in my past tweets. I will never stop fighting to make the lives of all Minnesotans better.
The statement was duly noted by state GOP deputy chair Michael Brodkorb on Twitter -- as a re-tweet from the AP's Brian Bakst.
Meanwhile, state DFL chair Brian Melendez called bullshit, not only for the Obama comment, but for a series of tweets attacking gays that Parry also yanked off his account.
As a candidate for elected office, he needs to answer the questions that these statements have raised rather than glossing over them with a glib answer and pleading ignorance with technology. Minnesotans deserve to know the truth.
Here's a screengrab of Parry's original outburst, via Bluestem Prairie.