May 4th, 2011, 1:03 pm
Posted by Martin Wisckol, Politics reporter
UPDATED with reader poll on whether we should stop using the photo of Obama as a chimp.
The Orange County GOP official who sent an email portraying President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee was censured this morning by the county party’s executive committee in a 12-2 vote.
The censure of Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the county GOP’s governing Central Committee, resulted from the finding that she violated bylaw provisions prohibiting action that “intentionally cause(s) the embarrassment” of the party. It is the strongest step the county party could take under its bylaws. According to state law, it was not an offense that qualified for her removal from the committee.
County Republican Party Chairman Scott Baugh condemned the April 15 email shortly after it was made public, and called for a county GOP ethics review of the matter.
“She was censured because she knew the email she was sending out was controversial,” Baugh said after this morning’s vote. “After it went out, she downplayed it as a joke. Instead of owning up to her error, she immediately sought to blame others.
“That resulted in a three-day barrage of negative media attention.”
Davenport’s initial apology, sent as an April 16 email, included the lines, “We all know a double standard applies regarding this President. I received plenty of e-mails about George Bush that I didn’t particularly like yet there was no ‘cry’ in the media about them.”
Part of Davenport’s initial apology, sent as an email on April 16, read, “We all know a double standard applies regarding this President. I received plenty of e-mails about George Bush that I didn’t particularly like yet there was no ‘cry’ in the media about them.”
Baugh said a subsequent apology from Davenport, issued as a printed statement on April 18, appeared to be contrite and sincere – but that things then took a turn for the worse.
“Her subsequent press conference and media tour only served to reignite the controversy,” he said.
At the April 20 press conference in her Fullerton driveway, Davenport read the April 18 apology – but went on to say that she didn’t consider the email racist and that she wasn’t sure Obama was U.S. born.
Davenport ally Tim Whitacre, also an elected member of the Central Committee, dismissed the censure as inconsequential and said it was based on a misinterpretation of the GOP bylaws.
“Once again, Baugh and company totally misuse the bylaws to extract their ounce of blood from their target,” said Whitacre, who unsuccessfully challenged Baugh for the chairmanship in January. “I think he perceives this as sending a message to people to not step out of line and that it deflects criticism of his leadership. But this censure means nothing coming from him.”
Baugh had previously called for Davenport’s resignation – she’s consistently said she won’t quit – and he reiterated today that he would still like to see her step down.
“I still think, for the health of the party, she should resign,” Baugh said.
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