S.C. GOP chairmen apologize for using Jewish stereotype

10/20/2009 2:32 PM

10/21/2009 8:47 PM

Two county Republican Party chairmen have apologized for using a Jewish stereotype about frugality in a newspaper op-ed column.

And S.C. GOP Party chairwoman Karen Floyd, who condemned the use of the stereotype, said Tuesday the two leaders will keep their positions.

"It was an offensive and inappropriate comment that (the party chairmen) have rightly apologized for," Floyd said in a statement Tuesday. "These kinds of stereotypes are absolutely unacceptable."

A Jewish state senator Monday said he was angered by the reference, which characterized Jews as notorious penny-pinchers.

But by Tuesday Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, said he considered the matter over after the party chairmen apologized and both Floyd and U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint condemned the remarks.

"I appreciate the fact that they apologized quickly," Lourie said. "As far as I'm concerned, we just need to focus on the critical issues in this state. ... I felt like they were very sincere. As far as I'm concerned, it's time to just move on."

In a Sunday opinion piece published in The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat, Edwin O. Merwin Jr., chairman of the Bamberg County Republican Party, and James S. Ulmer Jr., chairman of the Orangeburg County Republican Party, were writing to defend DeMint's opposition to congressional earmarks.

The men wrote: "There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves. By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth."

"... The comments were thoughtless and hurtful," DeMint said in a statement Tuesday. "The chairmen have apologized, as they should have."

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.

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