Gov. Pete Ricketts Tuesday issued a statement condemning a disparaging description of President Barack Obama posted on the blog of Nebraska Board of Education member Pat McPherson.
“While many Nebraskans disagree with our president on many issues, he is deserving of the same civility and respect we give one another,” Ricketts said. “There is no room for bigotry. I am deeply disappointed and unequivocally condemn these comments.”
Obama was described as a “half breed” in five separate postings on McPherson’s Objective Conservative blog — postings that McPherson said he did not author and that he disavowed after critics drew attention to them.
McPherson, a Republican, said they were posted by a contributor he would not name.
Three of the postings are written as if they reflect the opinion of the blog itself, which McPherson founded and said he co-edits. The three postings are listed as posted by Objective Conservative and are written with the pronoun “we.”
The three postings begin, “Frankly, we’ve had enough ...,” “We think Ted Nugent is cool ...” and “We are tired ...”
In one posting, the author jokes that the article may be their last because “we suspect the NSA has forwarded it to (Attorney General) Eric Holder for potential prosecution under hate-crime laws.”
The postings date back to May 11, 2011. McPherson said he deleted them from the site Tuesday. He declined to identify who wrote the blog posts, but he said he has expressed his disappointment to that person.
The chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party said Tuesday that Ricketts “just flunked his first test as governor as he failed to ask for McPherson’s resignation.”
“How will Mr. Ricketts explain to schoolchildren and teachers why it’s OK with the governor for a State Board of Education member to have a racist blog?” Vince Powers asked.
Powers said McPherson either wrote the posts or is covering for the person who did.
He described the posts as “garbage.”
McPherson said Tuesday that he will “absolutely not” resign. He said he plans to shut down the blog and has blocked any new postings.
McPherson is a former Republican Party chairman in Douglas County who served as director of administrative services under former Omaha Mayor Hal Daub. He ran for the State Education Board on a conservative platform.
The blog, which claims to present a conservative view, is a hodge-podge of photos, articles and opinion. Much of the content needles Obama, Democrats and their policies.
McPherson has talked about his blog at public meetings. He said he would sometimes call attention to postings.
The earliest posting found using the term “half breed” was in May 2011. The posting on immigration described Obama as “Our great half-breed leader.”
Another was in August 2013 and focused on the controversy surrounding a video of a rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair who wore an Obama mask. In that post, the author wrote, “One last thought and a political incorrect one. We’ve suggested that by terms previously used that this president is nothing more than a ‘half-breed’, half white, half black. That’s a fact. We wonder what his racist supporters would be labeling him if he were a Republican? He certainly wouldn’t be black or the first black president, he’d be white!”
A third, posted in October 2013, was titled: “Political Incorrect Thought of the Day: Time to Rename the Washington Redskins.” The author suggested the team could change its name to “The Washington Half-breeds,” a description said to fit the president as well.
A fourth posting in February last year referred to the controversy that erupted after rocker and hunting advocate Ted Nugent described Obama as a “subhuman mongrel.” In the posting, the author said: “We think Ted Nugent is cool, but we would never think of calling a half-breed a subhuman mongrel ...”
The fifth, which drew the recent attention to the blog, was posted after Obama last week proposed two years of free tuition and fees for students to attend community college.
The poster wrote, “Now our great Black Leader (actually, if he were a Republican the liberals would call him what he is — a half-breed) in Washington wants to give everyone a free community college education.”
In all cases, the postings were unsigned.
McPherson said Tuesday that “on occasion” he may have posted anonymously to the site, but he said the controversial posts were not his.
“They weren’t speaking for me,” he said.
He said he usually signed his posts. A computer word search of the website turned up no articles indicating they were authored by McPherson, though the search may be incomplete because many of the prior postings had been deleted by McPherson along with the offending ones.
He said he gave six or seven people passwords allowing them to post on behalf of the blog.
He said he did a poor job of monitoring what was posted. He said he doesn’t visit the blog very often.
“What can I say? They were there. I didn’t read them when they were posted,” he said.
McPherson again Tuesday declined to say who posted the offensive material.
“I don’t think that’s appropriate. It’s a private person. I have a number of private contributors to it. I’m not going to start pointing fingers at this point and make this any worse than it is for anybody.”
McPherson was sworn in this month to a four-year term on the state board.
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