updated 10/25/2004 3:32:08 PM ET 2004-10-25T19:32:08

A British newspaper apologized Monday for a weekend article in which a writer appeared to call for the assassination of President Bush.

In a regular column in The Guardian newspaper’s Saturday TV listings magazine, Charlie Brooker described Bush in scathing terms, and concluded: “John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr., where are you now that we need you?”

Booth assassinated President Lincoln, Oswald killed President Kennedy and Hinckley wounded President Reagan.

'Flippant and tasteless'
The Guardian’s apology described Brooker’s comments as “flippant and tasteless” but said they were “intended as an ironic joke, not as a call to action — an intention he believed regular readers of his humorous column would understand.”

It was the second time this month the newspaper was embroiled in a trans-Atlantic political controversy. Previously, it invited readers to write letters to unaffiliated voters in Clark County, Ohio, a swing state, about the importance of the Nov. 2 election. Clark County contains the city of Springfield.

The newspaper’s Web site said letter-writers were free to support either Bush or Sen. John Kerry but noted that a Guardian poll showed 47 percent of Britons backed Kerry and 16 percent supported Bush.

After being overwhelmed by responses, most of them hostile, the newspaper ended the campaign after their Web site was broken into by hackers.

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