Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-NC) issued a statement saying his "choice of words... was a mistake and was wrong." He says he's "proud of his civil rights record," but his voting record is no different from Trent Lott, Jesse Helms or Tom DeLay - and he did not declare his support for affirmative action. And nowhere does he address the most offensive part of his remarks - calling Cynthia McKinney a BITCH. Ballenger offers no apology TO McKINNEY, and he just makes matters worse by calling her "divisive" (is there anyone more divisive than Jesse Helms or Tom DeLay?) and "someone [who] can push you so hard." Yup, so now he's calling McKinney a "divisive, pushy bitch"! We demand Ballenger's resignation!

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."

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