Politician On "Obama Tags" Joke: "This Country Needs To Lighten Up"

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho Republican Rex Rammell said Tuesday the hoopla over his remarks about hunting President Barack Obama has been a boon to his campaign, and he again refused to apologize for what he called a joke.

"This country needs to lighten up," the GOP gubernatorial candidate said during a press conference in a Boise park Tuesday.

Last week, a GOP rally attendee shouted a question about "Obama tags" during discussion of Idaho's upcoming wolf hunt, where hunters must purchase an $11.50 tag as a license to kill a wolf.

Rammell responded, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

Idaho's Republican governor and congressional leaders criticized Rammell for his response.

But Rammell said the publicity has been good for his run for office.

"Hopefully, if there's people in Idaho that didn't know me, then they'll know me now. I think I'll come out of this much better off," Rammell told the Rexburg Standard Journal in eastern Idaho, where he lives.

Rammell, a long-shot GOP candidate who as an independent garnered just 5.4 percent of the vote in his 2008 U.S. Senate run, said the condemnation had less to do with his statement and more to do with politics.

"These GOP leaders have jumped all over it to try to ruin my run to be the governor," Rammell said at his Tuesday press conference.

Rammell, a veterinarian and former elk rancher, has said he also blames Democrats and the media for overblowing his comment.

While a defiant Rammell refused to apologize, he said he was sorry if his remark was taken the wrong way.

"If people think I want to assassinate President Obama, I'll apologize for that all day long. That is not my intention," Rammell said. "But I will not apologize for making an innocent comment."

Rammell isn't the first Rexburg resident who has drawn attention for making an anti-Obama comment. In November 2008, second- and third-grade students on a school bus there chanted "Assassinate Obama" after his election, prompting the mayor of the eastern Idaho town to publicly apologize.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Bob Location: Belhaven on Sep 2, 2009 at 04:26 PM
    Hey lets don't talk about the trillions of dollars in debt "the one" and his minions have gotten us in, lets don't talk about how many soldiers have been killed in"the ones" war in afganistan (more than in Iraq under Former President Bush), lets don't talk about the Crar's with no oversite control, lets don't talk about the attempt to push through health care reform (that Congress & the one)wouldn't participate in, lets don't talk about "the one" saying America is not a christian nation, lets don't talk about how it is NOT OK to joke about "the one" but it is alright to say anything negative about Former President Bush, S. Palin's family or any other conservative. OSOC your opposition on here is never going to let the facts get in the way! He made a joke about "the one", the "one" is a joke so why not! In another 6 months even Lavon and Derek will not admit they voted for "the one" or his minions! See the poll is good ie. "the one" wins, its wrong about his popularity crashing! wake up
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 2, 2009 at 01:39 PM
    Well Derek, just quoting the facts from Gallop and Rasumssen, you know, the guys that pointed out that Obama would win. Now, be a good sheep an scurry along, and you said you were moderate.....
  • by Derek Location: Greenville on Sep 2, 2009 at 08:26 AM
    OSOC - Bush was the man! thats what the propaganda machine tells us anyways.
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Sep 2, 2009 at 06:04 AM
    anonymous, sorry, your chosen one has fallen to the Gallop polls below Jimmy Carter. It would appear George W Bush was the man. Sorry, not go have a good cry, your man will not go down in history, under Jimmy Carter's ratings. If you have any tissue left, save it for Lavon, shes going to need it.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 2, 2009 at 05:59 AM
    rammell's joke insites violence against another & that's not a joke to be taken lightly
  • by RobH Location: Greenville on Sep 2, 2009 at 01:05 AM
    I learned a long time ago it's not what you say but what you do. Take a chill pill, it was not a threat, it was made in jest.
  • by anonymous on Sep 1, 2009 at 08:18 PM
    some "jokes" are better left unsaid and Rammell's Obama "joke" was one of them. it wasn't funny at all to me. maybe that's why he can't win anything. he doesn't deserve to. he needs to keep his stupid "jokes" to himself.
  • by Rich Location: Greenville on Sep 1, 2009 at 07:55 PM
    Wow, I'm sure WITN was hoping for a few more racially charged responses to this story than they got. Oh well, maybe when the next one comes along you can get a couple hundred out of it.
  • by anonymous on Sep 1, 2009 at 05:57 PM
    to commenters who dislike or hate Obama, why aren't you President? You mean to tell me Obama beat you guys to the seat. How'd that happen, you are usually lightning fast, don't wait for nothing right? I'm the one in shock, why are you? Obama's the president whether you like it are not.
  • by anonymous on Sep 1, 2009 at 05:54 PM
    CACTUS why do you keep attacking Obama? You must have a crush on him. You better be glad you got some ears so you can hear how to still some more land. Just run the people there off, you know the drill. You ain't earned nothing trash troublemaker.
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