Summarized by Kent Larsen
Bennett tells black leaders he's sorry for remark
San Jose CA Mercury News 23Aug99 L1
By Paul Foy: Associated Press Writer
SALT LAKE CITY -- In a private meeting with civil rights leaders,
Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) apologized for remarks he made that
appeared to disparage black women. Still somewhat unsatisfied, the
NAACP's Utah leaders are asking Bennett to make a public apology. And
they are asking Utah's other Senator, Orrin Hatch, to apologize also,
for a remark he made.
Bennett's remark was made at an August 13th editorial board meeting
of the Ogden Standard-Examiner. While meeting with the board to talk
about the Republican Party, Bennett said that Republican presidential
front-runner George W. Bush would win the Republican nomination
"unless some woman comes forward, let's say some black woman comes
forward with an illegitimate child that he fathered."
In his private apology, Bennett said he was thinking of the movie
"Primary Colors," in which a presidential candidate's womanizing
nearly costs him the campaign. "We told him that was a very poor
excuse," said the NAACP's Salt Lake City president Jeanetta Williams.
Williams accepted the apology, but still wants a public apology. In a
written statement released to the press, Bennett said he had
apologized to Williams.
Meanwhile, the NAACP, which has consistently given both Bennett and
Hatch poor voting records on civil rights legislation, also took
Presidential candidate Orrin Hatch to task for a remark he made
comparing homosexuals and blacks, where he tried to explain his
belief that being homosexual is reversible.
At a June Republican state convention, Hatch said that republicans
could be proud of their party because "we don't have the gays and
lesbians with us." He went on to say, "People of color can't do
anything about their color. But I do believe gay people have a choice
to live within the legal rules or not. It's up to them, they do have
a choice, where an African-American has no choice with regard to the
color of their skin."
The president of the NAACP's Utah, Idaho and Nevada area, Edward L.
Lewis Jr., says he is appalled at the remark. "We do not equate being
gay or being lesbian with 300 years of slavery and being black in
America. It is not the same thing. However, we do feel that everyone
should have their civil rights."
Hatch sees the remarks differently. "You can sum it up in one
sentence: that Orrin Hatch is tolerant of all people and that he
doesn't try to tell people how to live unless they ask him."