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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Racially Insensitive Joke: Hillary Clinton calls Gandhi as running a petrol station

This seems to be a season for Gandhi defamation and mismanagement...first we had the book by his grandson being scandalized all over and then the pole dancing disco video and now Hillary least the Senator apologised immediately. But, coming in the immediate aftermath of an Indian actor being subjected to racist remarks in British television, this is certainly not in good taste...surprisingly bad timing for an American politician! - Hillary Clinton 'truly regrets' Gandhi joke - Jan. 7, 2004: "Remarks called stereotypical, racially insensitive

Wednesday, January 7, 2004 Posted: 1642 GMT (12:42 AM HKT)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks Saturday at a fund-raiser for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer, right.

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Sen. Hillary"Rodham Clinton apologized for joking that Mahatma Gandhi used to run a gas station in St. Louis, saying it was "a lame attempt at humor."

The New York Democrat made the remark at a fund-raiser Saturday. During an event here for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer, Clinton introduced a quote from Gandhi by saying, "He ran a gas station down in St. Louis."

After laughter from many in the crowd of at least 200 subsided, the former first lady continued, "No, Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader of the 20th century." In a nod to Farmer's underdog status against Republican Sen. Kit Bond, Clinton quoted the Indian independence leader as saying: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

The director of a U.S. center devoted to Gandhi's teachings called the remarks stereotypical and racially insensitive, while an educator said the flap underscored the need for politicians to be cautious when trying to get laughs.

"Political speeches can't be like episodes of The Simpsons," said David Robertson, a University of Missouri-St. Louis political science professor.

After being approached by The Associated Press to clarify the remarks, Clinton suggested in a statement sent late Monday that she never meant to fuel any stereotype -- often used as a comedic punch line -- that certain ethnic groups were synonymous with operating America's gas stations.

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