Specter apologizes for Polish jokes

Dec. 17, 2008 at 5:42 PM
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PITTSBURGH, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., is apologizing for telling off-color Polish jokes in New York last week.

A spokeswoman for the senator told UPI Specter has sent out several letters to various Polish groups seeking forgiveness for the lapse.

"I apologize for the comments I made Friday at a Republican State Committee luncheon in New York," Specter wrote in a letter to the Polish American Congress. "In retrospect I can see they were inappropriate and I regret having made them."

Specter also said he never will repeat those jokes again.

"I find it appalling," Tim Kuzma, president of the Polish Falcons of America, based in Green Tree, Pa., told Wednesday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Kuzma said that although Specter had called to apologize, he and other Polish community leaders were pressing for a face-to-face meeting with the senator to clear the air.

"I do respect that he called, that he did apologize; it was a good step and the right thing to do," Kuzma said. "We feel that it is important that he meet with us directly. He said he would do that."

The New York Post reported that Specter was addressing a GOP group Friday in Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room when he asked if anyone in the audience was Polish. When about 10 guests out of hundreds there raised their hands, Specter reportedly told several tasteless Polish jokes.

"No one walked out, but it was offensive," an unnamed attendee told the Post.

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