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Senator makes statement but no apology for racial claim

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BATON ROUGE - A Louisiana state senator, surrounded by the controversy of a racially charged statement, once again ran from WBRZ News 2's questions Thursday.

On Tuesday, Democratic Party Chair Senator Karen Carter-Peterson said lawmakers opposed Medicaid expansion because President Barack Obama is African American.

"It's not about how many federal dollars we can receive. It's not about that. You ready? It's about race. No, nobody wants to talk about that," Carter-Peterson, a democrat from New Orleans, said.

Wednesday, Carter-Peterson walked away when she was asked to comment on what she said.

But, Thursday, she released a statement that read: "I think we should judge a policy by its content, not the person proposing it. To be clear, I didn't call any person 'racist.' Rather, I was simply relaying the truth about conversations I've had with my colleagues and the factors they considered on the expansion of Medicaid. While others are using this as an opportunity to take my comments out of context in order to distract from the true issue, I think it's critical that we focus on the substance of the policy because it's the right thing to do for Louisiana."

Multiple people, including Governor Bobby Jindal, asked for a formal apology.

When WBRZ News 2 asked her to comment further after releasing the statement, Carter-Peterson quietly left the legislative session before the Senate adjourned and once again dodged questions.

Hours later, though, she broke her silence when she offered several TV stations in New Orleans interviews.

"There will be no apology," Carter-Peterson said. "If any apology is made, hopefully it's from Governor Jindal apologizing to the 400,000 uninsured Louisianians that will continue to be at the end of this session because he has not in fact accepted the money."

Conservatives still want her to clarify what she said at the Capitol in Baton Rouge.

"I hope she continues to say what she's saying. I hope she says it until she realizes how stupid it is," conservative Rev. C.L. Bryant said.

 

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