- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Olympic rowing champion and aspiring U.K. politician James Cracknell made the stunning claim Tuesday that North Korea and Cuba have an admirable “handle on obesity.”

The British two-time gold medalist, who is aspiring to become a Conservative Party MP in 2020, appeared to praise the ability of the governments in those oppressed countries to effect “behavioral change.”

“If you think of the two countries that have a handle on obesity, what do you think they are?” he asked during an interview on Sky News. “North Korea and Cuba.

“They’re quite controlling on behavioral trends,” he said. “It’ll have to be worked and you’ll have to get people to buy into it.”

Anchor Jonathan Samuels quickly pointed out that many North Koreans are starving to death.

“Exactly, but there’s sanctions and everything else,” Mr. Cracknell responded. “But the example is it’s behavioral change.”

Mr. Cracknell’s comments were quickly condemned on social media, prompting him to issue an apology for poor phrasing.

“On @SkyNews discussing obesity & influence that the state can/cannot effect behavioural change USA most obese Cuba least, UK needs own path,” he wrote.

Mr. Cracknell said he was trying to illustrate the “influence state has over behavioural change.”

“I was trying to make a point not only using inappropriate examples but came out badly. JC,” he wrote, adding that it’s “disappointing that a poor/stupid comment creates so much more debate than the issue of poverty & obesity.”

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