ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Rigel Anderson Report: Florida Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings issued a statement Monday indicating that he regrets saying that "gun toting" Sarah Palin "don’t care too much" about Jews and blacks while still maintaining that the policies and priorities of a McCain-Palin administration would be "anathema to most African-Americans and Jews."
“I regret the comments I made last Tuesday that were not smart and certainly not relevant to hunters or sportsmen," Hastings said in his statement. “I regret that I was not clearer and apologize to Governor Palin, my host where I was speaking, and those who my comments may have offended.”
While participating in a panel discussion last week sponsored by the National Jewish Democratic Council (N.J.D.C), Hastings said: "If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through."
Asked last week what the congressman meant, Hastings spokesman David Goldenberg told ABC News that he was trying to argue that Palin is an "extremely conservative woman who is out of touch with mainstream America."
After saying that Palin "don’t care too much" about Jews and blacks, Hastings argued at the N.J.D.C. event that African Americans and Jews should come together behind Obama because there are many issues on which they agree.
"Just like Jews, blacks care about affordable health care, energy independence, and the separation of church and state," said Hastings. "And just like blacks, Jews care about equal pay for equal work, investment in alternative energy, and a woman’s right to choose."
Asked last week about the Hastings criticism, Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said, "We’re taking a pass."