Interior Secretary Ken Salazar apologized today for threatening to punch a Colorado reporter who asked him about problems with the government's wild horse program at a campaign event. Salazar called Dave Philipps, a reporter with the Gazette of Colorado Springs, to apologize and offer him an interview, and he also sent him a letter of apology. It came a day after the newspaper posted a story and an audio recording of comments Salazar made at an Election Day event.
During that exchange, Philipps asked Salazar what he knew about Tom Davis—a horse-slaughter proponent who has bought hundreds of wild horses gathered from public lands by the Bureau of Land Management—and about the agency's wild horse management program, which Salazar's office oversees. Salazar answered briefly, saying the BLM has made a "major effort" to address long-standing problems with wild horses on public lands. After the on-camera interview ended, Salazar accused Philipps of setting him up. "If you do that to me again, I'll punch you out."