Allegheny County's GOP chair and former county executive Jim Roddey has long been known for being quotable, and he added to that reputation tonight in a joke equating Obama supporters with the mentally disabled.For the record, he's since apologized:
Roddey as usual acted as MC at the election night party for state Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, who won the special election to fill convicted state Sen. Jane Orie's seat in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs. Vulakovich beat Democrat Sharon Brown at about 74-26%, which Roddey said "is the largest margin we've had in 50 years!"
That got a huge response from the partisan GOP crowd of about 200 people at Vulakovich's party, whereupon Roddey went into his Obama joke.
"There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed. I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly -- he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, 'Sir, here's a place.' And he said, 'That's a handicapped space.' I said, 'Oh I'm so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded."
In email today, Mr. Roddey called his remarks "regrettable," and added, "I have a long record of supporting people with disabilities and should have remembered that before I spoke. My remarks were inappropriate and I apologize."By the way, the crowd reportedly "hollered and clapped" at Roddey's inappropriate and regrettable remarks. None of them have reportedly apologized.
I was wondering just how big of an embarrassment was this for Mr Roddey? That is to say, how far did the story get? Let's see.
There's the left leaning Huffingtonpost:
A long-time Pennsylvania GOP official reportedly earned a warm reception Tuesday for comparing a supporter of President Obama to someone who is "mentally retarded."And the right leaning Blaze:
Jim Roddey, reportedly a long-time Pennsylvania GOP official and county chair, is making headlines after implying that a driver is “mentally retarded” for having an Obama bumper sticker on his car.Do you like how they're distancing themselves from Roddey there? He's not described as the head of the Allegheny County GOP, but "reportedly a long time Pennsylvania GOP official." As if there's some doubt.
The story made it onto the Political Wire and the Daily Caller and Mediaite.
So the story spread far and wide, at least among political...uh...junkies. And that's gotta be embarrassing for Mr Roddey.
Hey, did you know that Roddey's on the Board of Trustees for the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy?
That's the local conservative think-tank whose foundation support is made up almost entirely of Scaife money. The same Scaife that owns the another Pittsburgh News outlet, the Tribune-Review.
Hey, did you know that the Trib has not yet mentioned Roddey's inappropriate and regrettable attempt at humor?
Interesting, isn't it?