Rep. Steve King, known for sometimes incendiary remarks about immigration, Abu Ghraib and other issues, criticized Mr. Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who also is black, in an interview Monday on G. Gordon Liddy’s nationally syndicated radio talk show.
Mr. King continued: “The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race on the side that favors the black person in the case of professor Gates and officer Crowley.”
Andy Stone, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, criticized Mr. Gardner for having scheduled Mr. King. “This is just the kind of over-the-top extremism that Colorado voters have rejected again and again,” Mr. Stone said.
“When he had an Irish cop and a black professor, who’d he side with?” Mr. King said. “He jumped to a conclusion without having heard the facts. And he ended up having to have a ‘beer summit.’ The president of the United States has got to articulate a mission. And instead, he’s playing race-bait games to undermine the law enforcement in the state of Arizona and across the country.”
“Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot,” Mr. Holder said, “in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”
Mr. King’s office had no immediate comment.
Mr. King, a former construction company owner, drew earlier criticism for comments about the Iraq war. He said the news media exaggerated the story of abuses at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison and dismissed it as hazing.
Christopher Reed, an Iowa conservative activist, defended Mr. King.
“He is one of those few politicians who really says what he thinks,” Mr. Reed said. “One man’s ‘controversial’ is another man’s truth.”
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