Image: Steve King
Lauren Victoria Burke  /  AP
Rep. Steve King is known for his sometimes incendiary remarks
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 6/16/2010 12:37:39 PM ET 2010-06-16T16:37:39

During an interview on G. Gordon Liddy's radio talk show, Republican Rep. Steve King said he stands by comments he made about race and President Barack Obama.

"I have no regrets about what I said. I stand by what I said what I said is accurate, It’s factual," King said in a Radio Iowa interview on Tuesday.

The day before, on the same nationally-syndicated show, King criticized Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder on their handling of racially-charged issues.

"I'm offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture," said King, 61. "It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race."

King continued: "The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race on the side that favors the black person in the case of professor Gates and officer Crowley."

He was alluding to last year's incident in which Obama commented on a white police officer's arrest of a black professor from Harvard University.

On Tuesday, King said the comments he made were accurate and objective, but have been distorted by "the left" for political gain.

"All of these things are politically motivated. You have the professional hyper-ventilators out there who have the radar screen up all the time, trying to find something that they can twist or embellish," King said. "That's what's going on, I don’t want anybody to think that Steve King loses a minute's sleep over this." King said he intentionally waited to respond to the hype over his comments about Obama and Holder. "I told my people here that handle my media, 'Let’s let this cook for a couple of days and see if this pot will come to a boil.'"

As news of King's initial remarks spread on Monday, GOP House candidate Cory Gardner of Colorado canceled a planned $100 per-plate fundraiser where King was to speak.

King's appearance was also canceled at a Colorado tea party gathering where he was scheduled to appear.

"His comments do not represent the tea party," said Owen Loftus, a spokesman for Republican Ken Buck, who is running for Senate in Colorado.

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Andy Stone, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, criticized Gardner for having scheduled King. "This is just the kind of over-the-top extremism that Colorado voters have rejected again and again," Stone said.

King, a four-term lawmaker, made similar remarks about Obama in a speech last month.

"When he had an Irish cop and a black professor, who'd he side with?" King said. "He jumped to a conclusion without having heard the facts. And he ended up having to have a beer summit. The president of the United States has got to articulate a mission. And instead, he's playing race-bait games to undermine the law enforcement in the state of Arizona and across the country."

Holder, in a 2009 speech, did not suggest that whites are more cowardly than blacks when discussing race, as King indicated in the radio interview.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot," Holder said, "in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."

King, a former construction company owner, drew earlier criticism for comments about the Iraq war. He said the news media exaggerated the story of abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and dismissed it as hazing.

And after compiling what he called an accurate civilian violent death rate for Iraq, he said living there was safer than in some U.S. cities, including New Orleans and Detroit.

Christopher Reed, an Iowa conservative activist, defended King.

"He is one of those few politicians who really says what he thinks," Reed said. "One man's controversial is another man's truth."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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