By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- State Senator Randy Brogdon is refusing to apologize for a remark that offended the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus during debate of the federal health care mandate.
On Tuesday, Brogdon was arguing in support of measure that would allow Oklahomans to opt out of the federal mandate President Obama signed into law on Tuesday.
"Are we going to have to purchase fried chicken tomorrow for dinner?" Brogdon asked, referring to the federal mandate.
Brogdon maintains that he used the chicken dinner analogy because he has just eaten that for lunch. He has now come under fire for that comment which he calls a liberal attack.
"My remarks were as innocent as the fresh driven snow," said State Sen. Randy Brogdon (R). "They're wanting to focus not on the issue at hand, they're wanting to turn it into a political witch hunt."
But it's not just liberals who took offense to Brogdon's remarks.
"There's probably nobody in the building who disagrees more with the President Obama on health care, however, my concerns are the debate should always be about stereotype or anything else," State Rep. T.W. Shannon (R) said.
The legislative Black Caucus, of which Representative Shannon is a member, quickly denounced the remarks. NEWS 9 caught up with its chairman.
"The fact that the conversation went toward eating fried chicken, that troubles me," said State Rep. Jabar Shumate (D). "We had a substantive debate on the topic, the issue, and so I'm disappointed that Senator Brogdon didn't just keep it there."
But Brogdon insists his comment worked in the context of the debate.
"I didn't have any malice or forethought of what I said," said Sen. Brogdon. "I don't have anything to apologize for."
The caucus was calling on Senate Pro Tem Glenn Coffee to admonish Brogdon. But Coffee said he's not going to do that, because Brogdon used a poor choice of words that was not racially intended.
And the bill Brogdon wrote that would allow Oklahomans to opt out of federal health care has passed both the House and Senate, meaning it could go to a vote of the people.
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