S.C. senator sorry for 'raghead' remark

June 4, 2010 at 4:40 PM
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COLUMBIA, S.C., June 4 (UPI) -- A Republican state senator in South Carolina says he was joking when he called Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley a "raghead."

Sen. John M. "Jake" Knotts Jr. made what he also described as an "unintended slur" during an appearance Thursday on an Internet show, "Pub Politics," The State reported. Haley, who was raised as a Sikh, is the daughter of immigrants from India.

"We already got one raghead in the White House," Knotts said. "We don't need another in the governor's mansion."

Haley, the only woman in a four-way primary fight, has been leading the field since former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin endorsed her a few weeks ago. Knotts is a close ally of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, another gubernatorial candidate.

State Republican Chairwoman Karen Floyd ordered Knotts to apologize.

"Bear in mind that this is a freewheeling, anything-goes Internet radio show that is broadcast from a pub. It's like a local political version of 'Saturday Night Live,'" Knotts said. "Since my intended humorous context was lost in translation, I apologize. I still believe Ms. Haley is pretending to be someone she is not, much as Obama did, but I apologize to both for an unintended slur."

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