- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2013

First, Texas Rep. Steve Stockman suggested a rodeo clown banned from the Missouri State Fair for wearing a President Obama mask during a skit should go perform in the Lone Star State, because “Texans value speech.”

Now, fellow Republican Rep. Steve King, of Iowa, says this lingering controversy could be solved over some brewskis.

“Mr. President: Invite the rodeo clown 2 the White House 4 a beer summit. Take the temperature down, have a laugh, relax. It’s not about race,” Mr. King said in a Twitter message.

The incident, in which the clown wore the mask as an announcer asked if the crowd would like to see Mr. Obama get run down by a bull, caused a stir this week and raised questions about race. Some say it’s a legitimate debate, while others say the whole thing has been overblown.

Mr. King, hardly an ally of the Democratic president, was riffing off Mr. Obama’s first-term decision to have beers at the White House with a black Harvard University professor and a Cambridge Police sergeant.

The professor, Henry Louis Gates, was arrested by the officer while trying to break into his own home, raising questions about racial profiling. Mr. Obama commented on the incident, but later backtracked on his criticism of the arrest and called for the beer summit.

So far, it does not appear that Mr. Obama has strong opinions about the rodeo incident.

The clown controversy made its way to the White House press corps at midweek, when spokesman Josh Earnest was asked whether Mr. Obama had any personal reaction either to the skit or to calls by the Missouri NAACP for the Justice Department and Secret Service to investigate the mask-wearer.

The NAACP said the skit constituted “targeting and inciting violence against our president” and provides the basis for a federal investigation. The group added that the state is “subsidizing the Missouri State Fair to the tune of $400,000. We are calling for the subsidy to stop.”

Mr. Earnest said he was unaware of any personal reaction by the president and deflected questions about calls for investigations to the Justice Department.