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Mitt catches the 'tar baby' virus

White House spokesbot Tony Snow must have been snogging with 2008 GOP presidential hopeful and homo-basher Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, because we have another case of “tar baby” bleating with foot-in-mouth complications.

Gov. Mitt Romney has apologized for referring to the troubled Big Dig construction project as a “tar baby” during a fundraiser with Iowa Republicans, saying he didn’t know anyone would be offended by the term some consider a racial epithet.

In a speech Saturday, Romney, a Republican considering a run for president in 2008, acknowledged he took a big political risk in taking control of the project after a fatal tunnel ceiling collapse, but said inaction would have been even worse.

The best thing politically would be to stay as far away from that tar baby as I can,” he told a crowd of about 100 supporters in Ames, Iowa.

…Black leaders were outraged at his use of the term, which dates to the 19th century Uncle Remus stories, referring to a doll made of tar that traps Br’er Rabbit. It has come to be known as a way of describing a sticky mess, and has been used as a derogatory term for a black person.

“Tar baby is a totally inappropriate phrase in the 21st century,” said Larry Jones, a black Republican and civil rights activist.

Bush’s mouthpiece Snow, who educated us all about the fact that racism is dead, used the term not once but twice in the same press briefing back in May when he was asked about the NSA and its collecting of phone records:

Having said that, I don’t want to hug the tar baby of trying to comment on the program, the alleged program, the existence of which I can neither confirm nor deny.

And later:

QUESTION: What are your personal goals? What do you hope to achieve here? Will you continue to televise these briefings? And would you put into English the phrase (OFF-MIKE) the tar baby?

SNOW: Well, I believe hug the tar baby, we could trace that back to American lore.

This is the history of the use of the term. Certainly both of these men are intelligent enough to find other ways to describe a sticky situation.

H/t, Tony R.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding