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Nevada rancher defends race remarks amid feud with Feds

By Michelle Rindels

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 01:03 a.m. HST, Apr 25, 2014


LAS VEGAS >> A Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for standing up to the government in a fight over grazing rights lost some of his staunch defenders Thursday after wondering aloud whether blacks might have had it better under slavery.

Republican politicians from around the country who have rallied to Cliven Bundy's defense in recent weeks denounced the comments and distanced themselves from the rancher, including potential 2016 presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller. Democrats were quick to pounce on the comments and label Bundy a racist.

Bundy has gone from a little-known rancher and melon farmer in rural Nevada to a national political star since he resisted the federal government's attempts to round up his cattle from federal land because he hadn't paid grazing fees for two decades. His supporters, especially those on the right, have praised him for standing up to what they believe is a heavy-handed federal government, and several armed militia members traveled to his ranch to back Bundy.

His comments were first published in The New York Times on Wednesday, but he did little to tamp down the controversy as he sought to address the public outrage on Thursday.

Bundy was quoted in a Times story referring to black people as "the Negro" and recalling a time decades ago when he drove past homes in North Las Vegas and saw black people who "didn't have nothing to do." He said he wondered if they were "better off as slaves" than "under government subsidy."

On Thursday during an outdoor news conference near his ranch 80 miles from Las Vegas, he echoed the same sentiment: "Are they slaves to charities and government subsidized homes? And are they slaves when their daughters are having abortions and their sons are in the prisons? This thought goes back a long time."

A statement on the official Bundy Ranch Facebook page Thursday said that Bundy was a "good man, he loves all people, he is not a racist man." Bundy explained that he wasn't saying anyone should be enslaved today.

Politicians who had defended Bundy quickly issued statements condemning the remarks.

"His remarks on race are offensive, and I wholeheartedly disagree with him," said Paul, a Kentucky senator.

Heller, who last week called Bundy defenders "patriots" for their stand against the government, "completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy's appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way," said his spokeswoman, Chandler Smith.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who last week called Bundy supporters "domestic terrorists," also spoke out against Bundy's words.

"Today, Bundy revealed himself to be a hateful racist," Reid said. "But by denigrating people who work hard and play by the rules while he mooches off public land, he also revealed himself to be a hypocrite."

Bundy says he doesn't recognize federal authority over lands around his property that his cattle have grazed on for years.

The Bureau of Land Management claims the cattle are trespassing on fragile Gold Butte habitat set aside for the endangered desert tortoise, and that Bundy has racked up some $1.1 million in fees and penalties since 1993.

Supporters rushed to Bundy's ranch after a YouTube video showed federal agents using a stun gun on Bundy's son during a BLM roundup of the family's cattle. The resulting armed standoff became so tense that BLM agents and contractors called off the weeklong roundup, released about 350 animals back to Bundy, and left the area April 12.

Federal officials have said the agency would pursue unspecified administrative and judicial remedies, but BLM officials have not provided details.






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Tarakian wrote:
Stupid remark...foot in the mouth.
on April 24,2014 | 02:17PM
hanalei395 wrote:
Yesterday, a "hero" to Fox "News" Bimbos, male and female. Today, embarrassed, and Bundy ignored. ..... Back to Benghazi.
on April 24,2014 | 02:44PM
scooters wrote:
Just why does it have to be "Fox News'? you're certainly why too far to the left. Bimbo
on April 24,2014 | 08:01PM
9ronboz wrote:
Nice! Good job scooters
on April 24,2014 | 08:26PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Because prejudiced right-wingers are who watches fox.
on April 25,2014 | 06:11PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Mr. Bundy was spot on and correct in his belief. The Feds have grown too large and has enslaved the Blacks. For us from Hawaii, what is so racist about his belief and comments for believing and speaking the truth? Watch Fox begin to back paddle their comments. They followed the NYT's edited comments from Mr. Bundy.
on April 25,2014 | 11:02AM
salsacoquibx wrote:
Once a racist always a racist...time for the feds to feed us some of the steak thats grazing for free..
on April 24,2014 | 03:05PM
kukui_nut wrote:
Well, nobody's perfect.
on April 24,2014 | 03:12PM
control wrote:
Another fake neo-con hero.
on April 24,2014 | 03:15PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Yep this "patriot" said he does not recognize the government of the United States. Fox News used to love this guy.
on April 24,2014 | 04:42PM
ez_tiga wrote:
From hero to zero.. and the true person emerges..
on April 25,2014 | 06:14AM
HIE wrote:
He was always a zero...never a hero. Just a racist moocher, anti-American idiot.
on April 25,2014 | 01:35PM
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