Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy is standing by his widely condemned remarks on slavery even as most of his conservative allies hastily back away from him. "I don't think I'm wrong," Bundy, who wondered if black people were "better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life" than living "under government subsidy," tells CNN. "I think I'm right." He says he had been "just wondering" if black people are really better off now, adding that instead of slavery he really "meant to compare it with maybe life on the farm or life in the South, where they had some chickens and the gardens, and they had something to do." More:
- Bundy, who is embroiled in a dispute with federal authorities over grazing rights, admitted that having his cattle graze on public land might make him as much of a "welfare queen" as people who survive on government checks. "But I'll tell you I'm producing something for America and using a resource that nobody else would use or could use. I'm putting red meat on the table," he said.
- Despite some slight backtracking in the CNN interview, Bundy's remarks to a radio show yesterday were almost identical to the ones that first caused offense, Politico finds. "I'm wondering are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves to the United States government in the sense of the subsidy. I’m wondering. The statement was right," he said.
- Bundy's remarks have been strongly condemned by former allies including Sens. Dean Heller and Rand Paul and pundits including Sean Hannity, Mediaite reports. "His comments are beyond repugnant to me. They are beyond despicable to me. They are beyond ignorant to me," said the Fox host, adding that he fears the remarks overshadow the "legitimate issue" of government overreach.
- Conservative commentators including Crystal Wright said they feared the controversy will be yet another setback for the GOP's attempts to attract minority voters, the Washington Post finds. "My parents didn't sit-in at lunch counters so that they would be told that they would have been better off learning how to pick cotton," Wright said. "We as conservatives don't do a great job of cleaning up these racial missteps."