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Orange County GOP official considers photo of President Obama as baby chimp 'amusing'

April 18, 2011 | 11:22 am

  President Barack Obama looking at a computer screen

Failing to see any racism in a digitally altered photograph of President Obama and his family portrayed as chimps, Marilyn Davenport, an elected member of the Orange County GOP central committee, says that she will not resign after it was discovered that she emailed the image to several cohorts along with the message: "Now you know why — No birth certificate!"

Indeed, the OC Republican "simply found it amusing" and said it reflected the president's character.

Defiantly saying that the kerfuffle was "much ado about nothing", Davenport issued a statement (via email, naturally) that what she sent out was no different than what she received when President Bush was in office.

"I'm sorry if my email offended anyone, I simply found it amusing regarding the character of Obama and all the questions surrounding his origin of birth," Davenport wrote Saturday. "In no way did I even consider the fact he's half black when I sent out the email. In fact, the thought never entered my mind until one or two other people tried to make this about race. We all know a double standard applies regarding this president. I received plenty of emails about George Bush that I didn't particularly like, yet there was no 'cry' in the media about them."

OC GOP Chairman Scott Baugh, however, said the email was "despicable." He told the Associated Press that Davenport's email "drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee."

When confronted by the OC Weekly, which first reported the story, she claimed it was "just an Internet joke" and then asked the alternative newspaper, "You're not going to make a big deal about this are you?"

Baugh, however, did try to make a big deal about it because he does not want others to think that Davenport represents the views of other OC Republicans. However, upon investigation, he discovered that bylaws prevent an ouster of Davenport, an elected official, and the best he can do is organize a censure.

Davenport, of Fullerton, says she has friends who are black and thus she is not what some claim she is. "Oh, come on! Everybody who knows me knows that I am not a racist. It was a joke. I have friends who are black. Besides, I only sent it to a few people -– mostly people I didn’t think would be upset by it." 

However, another former California GOP bigwig says this is the third time recently that Davenport has been involved in a highly controversial matter revolving around race. Former Chairman of the California Republican Party Michael Schroder recalls that when another racist image was emailed in 2009 of the White House sitting behind a field of watermelons, Davenport defended Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose who sent out the email with the message "No Easter egg hunt his year." Regardless, Grose stepped down.

Similarly, when Newport City Councilman Richard Nichols voted against installing grass near the ocean because it would "attract Mexicans", Davenport backed the councilman, Schroder told KCAL.


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Note: Andrew Malcom is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: President Barack Obama, accompanied by Barbara Miner, PhD, Manager, Intel Transmission Electronic Microscope Lab, right, and Intel CEO Paul Otellini, second from left, looks at a computer screen at the Intel Corporation with in Hillsboro, Ore., Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster