Republican officials apologize for slur

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Two South Carolina Republican officials have apologized for likening Sen. Jim DeMint  to Jews who “take care of the pennies.”

Bamberg County GOP Chairman Edwin Merwin and Orangeburg County GOP Chairman James Ulmer wrote the Orangeburg Times and Democrat to defend DeMint, also a Republican, after a Democratic politician said he didn’t help direct enough funds to local projects.

“There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves,” the chairmen wrote. “By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation’s pennies and trying to preserve our country’s wealth and our economy’s viability.”

In a statement Oct. 19, Merwin said he meant “absolutely nothing derogatory by the reference to a great and honorable people.” Ulmer echoed that sentiment in his Oct. 20 apology. Matthew Brooks, the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, had issued a statement demanding apologies. — jta