2005-02-17 16:02:35 UTC
Pressure Mounts for Dean Apology Over Race Joke
Pressure continues to mount on Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard
Dean to apologize for racially tinged remarks he made last Friday while
addressing the Congressional Black Caucus, where he joked that minorities
tend to be employed as bellboys and hotel maids.
In a joint statement issued late Tuesday, former Rep. J.C. Watts and
Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele said: "We are simply outraged over
recent racially insensitive remarks made by Democratic National Committee
Chair Howard Dean. In his comments to the Democratic Black Caucus, Dean
equates African-Americans who support Republicans to hired help.
"This kind of backward thinking reminds us of a horrible time in history
when blacks were only seen as servants," Watts and Steele noted.
The focus of the growing outrage was an awkward joke Dean told to the CBC:
"You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of
color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here."
On Monday, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told ABC Radio
Network host Sean Hannity that Dean's remark was "pretty offensive. It's
pretty racist, if you ask me."
In an interview Tuesday with Baltimore's WBAL-TV, Steele called Dean's
remarks "racially insensitive and intolerable."
An online poll taken by the TV station showed that 72 percent of those
responding thought Gov. Dean needed to apologize.