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Rep. Charles Rangel says tea party supporters should not be offended by his reference to them as “white crackers,” asserting the reference to be “a term of endearment.”

During an interview Monday with The Huffington Post, the 22-term New York Democrat was asked about his use of the term last year, when he referred to tea partyers as “the same people we faced in the South, with the white crackers, the dogs and the police.”
Rangel replied that he thought “cracker” was “a term of endearment,” adding that “with all of the feelings I have against these people who have been against justice, fair play, equality, and the freedoms as we know it, if I offended them by calling them a white cracker, for that I apologize.”

But later in the interview, Rangel dismissed criticism of his comments as “ridiculous,” and appeared to liken tea partyers to segregationists and terrorists.

“A guy … in Congress calls mean-spirited people that bomb and kill people, set dogs on them, lynch people, and still refuse to believe that we’re suffering the pain from this — they can say that guy makes a lot of sense but he had no business calling us
a white cracker,” he said.

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