Nightly News   |  April 24, 2014

Cattle Rancher Cliven Bundy Loses Support Over Racial Comments

After attaining a freedom-fighter’s status among anti-government conservatives, those who once supported the 67-year-old rancher are.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in this country he was hailed by some as a popular hero, the nevada rancher who resisted the government's attempts to remove his cattle from federal lands but tonight it's what cliven bundy had to say in recent days about race that is causing outrage and has some of his supporters running from him and fast. and fair warning , his comments contain language seldom heard this day in age. our report from nbc's mike taibbi .

>> reporter: in the day of viral videos , everything can happen quickly. supporters helped him hold off government attempts to seize the cattle grazing on federal lands , even though he refused to pay more than a million in grazing fees and fines.

>> i'm after freedom. i don't recognize the united states government as even existing.

>> reporter: now not two weeks later he lost much of the freedom fighter status in conservative circles with these comments about race.

>> i want to tell you one more thing i know about the negro.

>> reporter: comments first referenced in the new york times and now convirile about african americans he saw outside an urban housing project .

>> they aboard their young children, put the young men in jail because they never learned how to pick cotton. and i've of the -- often wondered and are they better off as slaves picking cotton and having a family life and doing things or better off under government subsidy ?

>> the fallout is swift. the distance traveled at the speed of the internet starting with some of bundy's major supporters. senator ran paul called the comments racist and offensive. nevada senator dean helen's word, appalling and commentators on fox news that supported bundy's cause were suddenly silent or openly critical. las vegas heath rogers who followed bundy's case for years says the rancher has one logical move.

>> i think cliven has to look inside himself and maybe he might be a bigger man by saying i'm sorry.

>> reporter: he did not apologize today, repeating his comments about race. but while the dispute over grazing his cattle without paying fees isn't over his rule is an unqualified anti-government hero is. mike taibbi .

>>> an interesting and admittedly briefly