Congressional candidate Mike Parry’s campaign sent an email Tuesday highlighting controversial actions and statements made by his Republican primary opponent, but Parry, too, has some antagonistic remarks in his past.
Parry — through campaign advisor Ben Golnik — called for fellow Republican congressional candidate Allen Quist to “man up and explain what he meant by these outrageous comments.”
Parry was asked later Tuesday if he’d be willing to do the same with observations he made on Twitter in May of 2009, about six months before he ran for the state Senate in a special election.
In one, Parry tweeted: “What’s with Dems and Pedophiles?”
A second referenced the president: “read the exclusive on Mr O in Newsweek. He is a Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man.”
The tweets, after generating media coverage and condemnation in liberal blogs, were erased from Parry’s website and he eventually offered a semi-apology — saying the remarks were “written in haste and out of frustration I felt for the out of control spending in Washington.”
“That’s the difference,” Parry said, comparing his situation to Quist’s attempts to disassociate himself from previous comments and actions. “I manned up. I apologized.”
Parry declined to further explain the tweets, including why he brought up the president’s race. When the controversy arose, he said: “My opinion is that our president is arrogant and angry. The fact is that he is a black man.”
While it’s not surprising that a conservative might consider Obama arrogant and power hungry, some Parry critics noted that after ascribing two contemptible characteristics to the president that he tossed in a third characteristic associated with Obama’s race.
Asked what he was apologizing for, Parry said Tuesday: “I was sorry that I sent the tweet out.”
The “Dems and Pedophiles” tweet was widely speculated to be a reference to the debate going on in the spring of 2009 in the then-Democratic Congress over the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, which some conservatives dubbed “The Pedophile Protection Act.”
Shepard was a gay University of Wyoming student — not a pedophile — who was pistol-whipped, tortured, tied to a fence post and left to die by two men in 1998, and his murder helped spur the expansion of the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.
Parry declined to talk further about his three-year-old tweets.
“That’s so long ago that that’s past history,” he said. “We’ve moved forward.”