Two South Carolina Republican officials have apologized for defending U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint by likening him to Jews who "take care of the pennies."
Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer wrote the Orangeburg Times and Democrat to defend DeMint, also a Republican, after a Democratic politician said he didn’t help direct enough funds to local projects.
"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," the chairmen write. "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 and our economy’s viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."
The remarks were condemned by the Republican Jewish Coalition, the Anti-Defamation League and others.
Here are the full apologies after the jump, in which Ulmer writes that he has heard that expression about Jews many times, "truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life":
Late Monday, Mr. Ulmer wrote:
Last week I co-authored a letter to the editor which focused on the vital importance of reining in the unsustainable and excessive federal government spending which is going on currently in Washington, D.C. In one of the paragraphs which I wrote, I quoted a statement which I have heard many times in my life, truly in admiration for a method of bettering one’s lot in life.
I admit that perception is indeed reality to many and that I could have certainly worded that sentence much better. I sincerely apologize for this great error. If I had quoted that great man from Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, using his, "A penny saved is a penny earned," I doubt I would be writing this note.
I meant absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people. I hope that anyone and all who were offended by my comment will accept my humble apology.
Early Tuesday morning, Mr. Merwin wrote:
Last week I co-authored a letter to the editor that focused on the vital importance of reining in the unsustainable and excessive federal government spending which is going on currently in Washington, D.C.
At this time I wish to deeply apologize for any material included in that letter that would be considered antisemitic in any way. I have always abhorred in the past, and shall continue to do so in the future, antisemitism in any form whatsoever. I concur fully with the apology offered by my co-author, Jim Ulmer, and likewise beg that any and all who were offended will accept my deep felt apology.