Legislator: Picture switch just a joke

March 17, 2010 at 6:07 PM
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OKLAHOMA CITY, March 17 (UPI) -- A Republican state legislator in Oklahoma says he switched the portraits of President Obama and Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry as a joke.

After the portraits were shuffled last week, House Speaker Chris Benge, a Republican, took steps to ensure it could not happen again, The Oklahoman reported. He ordered all portraits hanging in the House chamber to be secured with bolts.

Under orders from Benge, Rep. Lewis Moore released a statement Tuesday.

"I moved the pictures," Moore said in a statement. "I apologize if my intent was misinterpreted."

In a telephone interview with the newspaper, Moore just said he was trying to lighten the atmosphere during a contentious time.

"Why are you guys making such a big deal about something that was just a joke?" he asked. "It was totally to kind of ease the pressure off of what was otherwise kind of a really nasty day. It wasn't meant in any harm whatsoever."

He made the switch before the House voted on a measure criticizing Obama's healthcare plan.

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