- Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal has confirmed he is the author behind several anonymous blog posts that referred to welfare recipients as “lazy pigs” and Planned Parenthood as the cause of abortions among African-Americans.

Huppenthal told The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/1iaS4bA ) on Wednesday that he sincerely regrets if his comments offended anyone.

“When people are as passionate as I am about developing sound public policy occasionally the emotions of the moment interfere with sound judgment and a more steady voice,” Huppenthal said in a statement.

The comments date back to 2011 - the year Huppenthal took office - and were posted on political blogs. They touched on issues such as education, the economy, immigration and health care. Huppenthal wrote several posts under the monikers of Thucydides and Falcon9.


In one post, he writes: “Obama is rewarding the lazy pigs with food stamps (44 million people), air-conditioning, free health care, flat-screen TV’s (typical of “poor” families).”

Huppenthal says the “pigs” comment was a reference to a nursery fable, “The Little Red Hen,” and not a dig.

A September 2013 post on the Seeing Red AZ blog attributed to Thucydides says Margaret Sanger, who established Planned Parenthood, “fed 16 million African-Americans into the abortion mills.” Another 2013 post written by Falcon 9 on Blog for Arizona says President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s economic policies “directly led to the rise of a no-name hack named Adolph Hitler…”

Blog for Arizona, a Democratic-leaning blog, has suggested for the past several months that the writer was Huppenthal.

Blog for Arizona said the postings were traced to an IP address tied to the state Department of Education, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Huppenthal said he has been putting his comments online for many years but “might have posted a few times from work during lunch hours or breaks,” the Times reported.

The state’s schools chief says he wrote the posts under different pseudonyms so he could have a more open dialogue without his position influencing the debate.

“I recognized my position as an elected official would influence the dialogue, and I was interested in an exchange on issues and ideas,” Huppenthal said.

Some political observers say Huppenthal’s use of pseudonyms brings up an ethical issue.

“Public officials should not post anonymously,” said Todd Gitlin, an ethics specialist and chairman of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. “They’re elected to be accountable. They can’t be held accountable if they hide behind pseudonyms.”

Arizona Education Association president Andrew Morrill said he is bewildered by what he calls Huppenthal’s “bizarre” behavior. Morrill added he is troubled by the contents of what Huppenthal posted, as well as the allegation that he used state-owned computers to share his views.

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