updated 8/27/2009 7:21:42 PM ET 2009-08-27T23:21:42

An Idaho Republican gubernatorial hopeful insists he was joking when he said he'd buy a license to hunt President Barack Obama.

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Rex Rammell, a former elk rancher slated to run against incumbent C.L. "Butch" Otter in the May 2010 GOP primary, made the comment at a Republican rally Tuesday in Twin Falls.

Talk at the meeting turned to the state's planned wolf hunt, for which hunters must purchase an $11.50 wolf tag.

When an audience member shouted a question about "Obama tags," Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

Rammell told the Times-News newspaper the comment was "just a joke."

"I would never support him being assassinated," he said.

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