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hardball
updated 4/23/2013 6:45:50 PM ET 2013-04-23T22:45:50

No matter how hard Republicans try and expand their voter base to be more inclusive of minority groups, it seems like there’s always someone in the ranks stepping up to botch the effort.

No matter how hard Republicans try and expand their voter base to be more inclusive of minority groups, it seems like there’s always someone in the ranks stepping up to botch the effort.

In March, it was Alaska Congressman Don Young, who used a derogatory term to describe the Latino individuals who worked on his father’s farm. “My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said in a radio interview with KRBD-FM.

With fellow Republicans rushing to distance themselves from his remarks, Young released a statement to apologize. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect,” read the statement.

Just as that hiccup in the outreach effort had drifted out of the headlines, a fellow Republican stepped up to fill the void.

On April 17, Oklahoma House Majority Leader Dennis Johnson used his time during a floor debate to discuss effective strategies for small business owners.

There’s such a thing called “niche marketing,” he began. “You find out what you do better than somebody else and that’s what you market.

So far, so good? Seems that way.

“Then you get the reward of success. People come back to you,” he continued. “They like the service they get, and they don’t ask me—they might try to Jew me down on a price, that’s fine. You know what? That’s free market as well.”

In Johnson’s case, we did not have to wait for a written mea culpa for his use of an anti-semitic slur on the House floor. Seconds after making the comment, Johnson is interrupted by an individual off-camera.

After a brief conversation, Johnson reverses course…sort of.

“I apologize to the Jews. They’re good small businessmen as well,” Johnson says.

In a later interview with The Oklahoman, Johnson explained that the comment “came out of one of the wrinkles of my brain and it was not something that was intentional.”

In the same interview, Johnson explains that he grew up hearing the term, but recognizes that it should not be used. Don Young expressed a similar sentiment in the aftermath of his use of the word “wetbacks.”

Video: Oklahoma legislature: Some patrons try to ‘Jew me down’

  1. Closed captioning of: Oklahoma legislature: Some patrons try to ‘Jew me down’

    >>> ha! back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first up, what is former president bill clinton have no common with tv shows like "the new normal," " days of our lives " and american horror story "asylum"? those shows were all honored at this year's glaad media awards . well, actress jennifer lawrence presented the advocate for change award to former president clinton and had a suffering of a slight stumble there.

    >> we are happy to present glaas's advocate for change award to president gli -- bill clinton . of all the things to mess up. his name.

    >> well, i don't think she lost any fans there, do you? probably picked some up.

    >>> the moment that defined rick per perry's 2012 republican primary experience comes back to bite yet again.

    >> the third agency of government i would do away with, the education -- the -- commerce. and let's see.

    >> oh, my.

    >> i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. oops.

    >> well, the texas governor held some events in chicago this week to try and convince business leaders up there to relocate to texas. chicago mayor rahm emanuel 's welcome message was a reminder of that debate performance. "i hope when he comes he remembers all three of his reasons because it will be a rell test for that guy."

    >>> it's been a month since alaska congressman don king referred to latinos as wetbacks. here's republican dennis johnson , oklahoma statehouse republican leader, talking about running a small business .

    >> such a thing called niche marketing. what you do, you find out what you do better than somebody else and that's what you market. then you get the reward of success. people come back to you. they like what you do. they like the service they get. and they don't ask me. they might try to chew me down on a price. that's fine.

    >> that was right in the chamber there of the assembly. the state governing body. right in the chamber he said that. if you were put off by that, however, catch this guy's apology.

    >> sir? did i? all right. i apologize to the jews. they're good small businessmen as well.

    >> wow. i don't know what i have to say about that. i think some people live in political isolation booths. i'll put it at that.

    >>> up next, both sides on the debate over abortion rights are reacting to the grisly details coming out of the trial of the philadelphia doctor. that's happening right now and we're going to cover it. this is "hardball." the place

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