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Teddy Bear flap grows

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SHELBURNE, Vt., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The president of the Vermont Teddy Bear Co. said she's sorry if her decision to keep selling the straitjacket-wearing bear has offended anyone.

A day after the Vermont Human Rights Commission asked the company to pull the "Crazy for You" bear from its shelves, Elisabeth Robert said she has first-hand knowledge of how horrific mental illness can be.

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"You know, I feel as if I am being talked at, as if I don't know what pain can be caused," Robert told the Rutland, Vt., Herald.

"I have, in my family, experienced real, profound pain over mental illness."

The commission's campaign that started a month ago has drawn national attention and even prompted Gov. James Douglas to write a letter saying the bear is in poor taste and should not be sold.

Robert said sales of the $70 bear picked significantly since word of the controversy spread. Response has split almost evenly between commission supporters and those who think the campaign smacks of political correctness.

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