July 17, 2012

Vt. GOP official sorry for Obama Facebook post

Rob Towle said Obama's 'stimulus package' includes cornbread, fried chicken coupons and a prayer rug — attacks that were widely interpreted as racist.

The Associated Press

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A county Republican Party committee chairman apologized Tuesday for a statement he reposted to a party Facebook page that was widely interpreted as a racist attack on President Barack Obama.

Rob Towle, the Rutland County committee chairman, called the statement "stupid and insensitive." On Monday, he apologized to Democrats he said were offended by the post. A day later, he was directing his apology to everyone.

The original post talked about a "2012 Social Security Stimulus Package" that included cornbread mix, discount coupons to Kentucky Fried Chicken and a prayer rug. Prayer rugs are used by Muslims in religious observances.

It added that the contents of the "stimulus package" included an "'Obama Hope & Change' bumper sticker, and a 'Blame it on Bush' poster for the front yard. The directions were in Spanish."

Towle's initial apology came after state Democratic Party Chairman Jake Perkinson issued a statement Monday calling the statement "appalling" and "vile."

Towle said someone else had written the message and shared it on his personal Facebook page, and he reposted it on Sunday on the county Republican Facebook page.

The liberal-leaning news website Green Mountain Daily first reported on the posting on Sunday.

Towle confirmed Tuesday that in responding to questions from the website, he initially had defended the posting, but had since changed his thinking.

"I realized that it was inappropriate and insensitive and I'm truly sorry for having posted it in the first place," Towle said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

In a statement issued Tuesday, he said: "It was a case of bad judgment and anyone that knows me, knows that the post does not reflect my personal values, nor does it in any way reflect the values or beliefs of any GOP official, candidate, GOP worker, or any person that I am friends with or associate with."


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