September 29, 2008
Black Florida congressman apologizes for Palin comments
Posted: 03:18 PM ET

From CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart
(CNN) - An African-American congressman from Florida is apologizing for his comment that black and Jewish voters should not support Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin because "anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks."

"I regret the comments I made last Tuesday that were not smart and certainly not relevant to hunters or sportsmen," Rep. Alcee Hastings said in a statement issued Monday.

Last week, at a panel on the shared agenda of Jewish and African-American Democrats during the annual conference of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Hastings told attendees what he intended to tell his Jewish constituents about the importance of supporting Sen. Obama in November's presidential election. "If Sarah Palin isn't enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention," Hastings said last week. "Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don't care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through," he added

The comments elicited a swift response from the Republican Jewish Coalition. In a statement issued last week, Matt Brooks, the group's Executive Director, said Hastings "stooped to the worst kind of divisive politics." "There should be no place in our country for this sort of political discourse. We can constructively disagree on the issues without denigrating others," added Brooks.