Democrats on Tuesday denounced an Iowa Republican congressman who says President Obama favors blacks over whites, and a GOP candidate from Colorado canceled a fundraiser the Iowan was to keynote.
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.
"I'm offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture," said Mr. King, 61. "It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race."
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."
He was alluding to last year's incident in which Mr. Obama commented on a white police officer's arrest of a black professor from Harvard University.
As news of Mr. King's remarks spread, GOP House candidate Cory Gardner of Colorado canceled a planned $100-per-plate fundraiser where Mr. King was to speak.
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.
Mr. King, a four-term lawmaker, made similar remarks about Mr. Obama in a speech last month.
"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."
Mr. Holder, in a 2009 speech, did not suggest that whites are more cowardly than blacks when discussing race, as Mr. King indicated in the radio interview.
"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.
After compiling what he called an accurate civilian violent death rate for Iraq, he said living there was safer than in some U.S. cities, including New Orleans and Detroit.
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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