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For Immediate Release: December 20, 2002
Contact: Drew Lyman (202) 225-2576

Ballenger Issues Statement Regarding Interview with The Charlotte Observer

(Hickory, NC) - Today Congressman Cass Ballenger issued the following statement regarding a recent interview with The Charlotte Observer newspaper:

"In a political career that has spanned almost four decades, I've never been one to dodge a question or spin a response. Candor has been my trademark. Sometimes, though, my choice of words leaves much to be desired. My interview with The Charlotte observer is such a case. My choice of words to express distate for a divisive member of Congress was a mistake and was wrong. It was not what I intended and, if I had been more thoughtful, I wouldn't have said it.

My intent was to prove that someone can push you so hard that sometimes it causes you to think and speak in ways you wouldn't otherwise. This is true whether someone is a Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, black or white.

I've spent a lifetime helping people, whether in my hometown of Hickory, across North Carolina's Tenth District or around the world. I've built hospitals, orphanages, daycare centers and homeless facilities. My company was one of the very first in the area to integrate and to promote minorities into management positions. Nothing, not even a thoughtless remark on my part, will change that. I'm proud of my civil rights record, my humanitarian work and my leadership; but I'm not proud of what I said in the interview and I'm sorry."