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California GOP official apologizes for Obama chimpanzee e-mail

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Local GOP official apologizes for e-mail
  • Marilyn Davenport apologizes once again for forwarding e-mail
  • The e-mail contained a doctored photo of a chimpanzee with Obama's face on it
  • Davenport insists she is not racist and that she thought the e-mail was "political satire"
  • Davenport says she was focused on concerns about where the president was born

(CNN) -- A California Republican official on Wednesday apologized once again for sending an e-mail depicting President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee, but insisted she was not motivated by racism.

"To my fellow Americans and everyone else who saw that e-mail and was offended, I humbly apologize and ask for your forgiveness for my unwise behavior," Marilyn Davenport told reporters gathered before the Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Fullerton, California. "I say unwise because I didn't stop to think about the historic implications of what I was sending."

"Unintentionally I have offended many," Davenport added. "Knowing what I now know, I would never have sent the e-mail."

Davenport recently found herself in a storm of controversy after forwarding an e-mail she says she received from a friend. It contained a doctored photo styled like a family portrait, showing two adult chimpanzees and a baby. The younger chimpanzee had a photo of Obama's face superimposed over the animal's face.

The caption that ran with the photo read, "Now you know why no birth certificate."

The chairman of the Orange County Republican Party, Scott Baugh, called for her resignation in a Twitter message posted on the group's website. California's Democratic Party has also demanded that Davenport step down.

But during Wednesday's news conference, Davenport said she would not resign her post, citing an overwhelming number of appeals she has received from her constituency asking her not to do so. She represents the state's 72nd Assembly District for the Republican Central Committee.

When queried by reporters about who she may have offended, Davenport responded, "I assume that I offended the black people. And having friends that are black I never intended for that, not at all."

Davenport said repeatedly that she is not racist, a sentiment echoed by her husband, Dick, who stood at her side as she faced reporters. "We've been involved in many interracial activities," he said, "and we have no animosity toward any person."

The e-mail in question, according to Davenport, was political satire. "I don't think i would consider it racist," she told reporters. "It's a political satire. Pretty much about bringing up the birth certificate, or lack of it. It wasn't about black, white or other. I had no intention of doing anything that would be racist. I guess I'm political and I thought of it only in a political stance."

Davenport went on to say that the e-mail grabbed her attention because of concerns she has about where Obama was born and where he went to school. "I am concerned, knowing the responsibility of a president, that we should know these things, shouldn't we? There are some that are really adamant about it and I wonder why he doesn't tell us. ... From what I hear in the media, he's not brought forth his college records and his birth certificate."

Davenport is referring to claims made by what is called the "birther" movement. These groups believe that the president was not born in the United States and his birth certificate is a forgery, making him ineligible to be president under the U.S. Constitution.

Obama and his staff produced copies of his birth certificate when he was running for president in 2008.

Despite her professed concerns over his place of birth, Davenport addressed her apologies directly to Obama. "To the president, I would say absolutely that it was inappropriate and absolutely I would not do that again."