Safe to say it is not a good day for any politician when he has to issue a statement clarifying that he would not, in fact, vote in favor of restoring slavery. But that's exactly what Nevada Assemblyman Jim Wheeler had to do, reports the Las Vegas Sun. Asked whether he would cast such a vote if his constituents wanted it, Wheeler responded that he would:
- "If that’s what they wanted, I’d have to hold my nose, I’d have to bite my tongue and they’d probably have to hold a gun to my head, but yeah, if that’s what the citizens of the, if that’s what the constituency wants that elected me, that’s what they elected me for. That’s what a republic is about.”
A progressive group started circulating the video, and Wheeler blamed his liberal opponents and the media for taking his "clearly facetious" comments out of context. But even Gov. Brian Sandoval, a fellow Republican, did a double-take. "Assemblyman Wheeler's comments are deeply offensive, and have no place in our society," he said. "He should retract his remarks and apologize." Wheeler has since told the Sun that he would never vote for slavery, under any circumstances. And he issued a statement, picked up by the Reno Gazette-Journal, explaining that he was trying to make a point about how government works. "If my comments were taken with offense by anyone, I sincerely apologize."