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GOP demands apology for Franken video; says party didn't approach judicial candidate

  • Blog Post by: Abby Simons
  • August 25, 2014 - 1:18 PM

One day after Republican Congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn apologized for a series of blog posts written years ago that lambasted women, American Indians, gays and national political figures, Minnesota GOP leaders called on the state’s DFL party chair to apologize for a 2012 video in which Sen. Al Franken was shown appearing to sport a pair of traffic cones as breasts. The video came to light earlier this year.

The news conference also ended abruptly when State Republican Party Chair Keith Downey walked out when asked to clarify whether the party approached endorsed Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald and asked her to renounce her endorsement.

“If you had to stack up the politicians in Minnesota, Al Franken would be at the top of the list for those who have issued offensive comments or actions,” Downey said at a news conference Monday morning. “It is time for him to apologize for those, and it is time for Democrat chairman Ken Martin to call on him to apologize as well.”

Martin condemned Hagedorn’s remarks as “outrageous and offensive,” but he wasn’t alone. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also called on Hagedorn to apologize, saying “His writings do not reflect Minnesota values.”

Hagedorn, who initially defended his remarks, apologized Sunday.

In an open letter to Martin, Republican Minnesota state Sen. Michelle Fischbach and Reps. Marion O’Neill, Joyce Peppin, Cindy Pugh and Peggy Scott demanded the apology, saying “This wasn’t some ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit from yesteryear—this video was from an event in 2012.”

“I am so offended, not only this but his pattern of behavior to degrade women and to put women down,” said O’Neill, who along with Scott joined Downey at the news conference. “We are in 2014. I think it’s time to apologize, And it’s time to move forward and it’s time to stop this terrible behavior.”

Downey said that when the video first surfaced in 2012, the Republicans. “brought it to light a number of times” through social media, but never demanded an apology until Martin called on Hagedorn to do so.
“The hypocrisy jumped out at us, so today is the day,” he said, adding that “the standard has been set” with Hagedorn’s apology.

Scott called Hagedorn’s apology, which also lashed out at Franken, “sincere and heartfelt,”

“I think he genuinely is apologetic and remorseful about the comments that he made,” she said.

The news conference ended abruptly when Downey refused to discuss the latest developments surrounding GOP-endorsed Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald, who awaits trial next month for charges of drunken driving and resisting arrest.

MacDonald, who was barred from the party’s State Fair booth and removed by security last week, said she was approached by a party representative and asked to reject her endorsement, but refused. The same day, Downey issued a letter blasting MacDonald. A Republican party spokeswoman denied MacDonald was approached on behalf of the party.

However, text messages and voicemails obtained by politics.mn indicate attorney Patrick Burns approached MacDonald on behalf of the GOP.

"I have a deal from the party for you" one of the text messages read, according to the website.

Asked about the text messages and phone call, Downey maintained that the state GOP did not approach MacDonald with the request to reject the endorsement. Asked whether Burns was not telling the truth, Downey walked out without comment as reporters continued asking questions.

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