In the midst of delivering an impassioned speech decrying President Obama's health care reform, GOP congressional hopeful Corey Poitier veered dangerously off-script.
"Listen up, Buckwheat -- this is not how it is done!" Poitier blurted out.
The apparent comparison of the nation's commander-in-chief to a 1920s Our Gang and The Little Rascals character -- a character seen as demeaning and offensive by many African Americans -- sent a jolt of notoriety through Poitier's previously unknown campaign.
"The press has run amok with this and turned me into a racist," said Poitier, who is himself black. The candidate complains CNN never bothered to interview him before running its own version of the story. "I've never seen Buckwheat as a disparaging character. People love Buckwheat."
Poitier says he and his brother have in fact called each other "Buckwheat" as a way to gently chide the other for being foolish -- essentially a substitute for the word "dummy."
While speaking to a group of Broward Republicans Monday night, Poitier says he was trying to call the health care bill -- not Obama -- "dumb and silly." The candidate says he was initially surprised that the public instead took his comment as directed at the President.
"People can connect anything these days," Poitier said.
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