Don Imus returned to the radio with both barrels blasting on Monday, calling Vice President Dick Cheney a “war criminal” and reiterating his charge that Hillary Clinton is “Satan.”
Referring to his disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team that got him pulled from the air nine months ago, a somewhat contrite Imus did say that he “will never say anything in my lifetime that will make any of these young women at Rutgers regret or feel foolish that they accepted my apology and forgave me.”
But he told listeners: “Dick Cheney is still a war criminal. Hillary Clinton is still Satan. And I’m going on the radio.”
Imus was joined by his longtime sidekick Charles McCord and producer Bernard McGuirk.
But he has added two new cast members, both of them African-American — comedian Tony Powell and Karith Foster, an Oxford-educated “Texas cowgirl” whose career has ranged from broadcast journalism to stand-up comedy, according to the New York Post.
They were brought aboard to ease tension stirred up by his racist comments about the Rutgers team, sources told the Post.
Despite her Texas roots, Foster jokes on her Web site: “I’m really a Jewish girl from Long Island trapped in this body, which technically makes me a JA-AP [Jewish African-American princess].”
Imus’ return makes him a potential new force in the presidential race.
His new talk show is being broadcast on WABC-AM in New York and is syndicated nationally on the ABC Radio Network. But it remains to be seen if political figures will appear on his program as often as they did before he was pulled from the air.
“Presidential candidates in both parties now face a new and unpredictable danger: the rebukes and ridicule of the politically incorrect Mr. Imus,” the New York Sun reports.
“How much influence the recalcitrant broadcaster will have on the candidates entering into the final month of campaigning before the Iowa caucuses will depend on how quickly Mr. Imus can recapture his lost form after so long an absence.”
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee agreed to do an interview on Imus’ debut show on Monday, telling USA Today: “He’s continued to have me on his show when I said stupid things. What Imus said was wrong, but he seems genuinely sorry.”
Democratic strategist James Carville also agreed to appear today.
Huckabee’s fellow Republicans Rudy Giuliani and John McCain “have both made it clear they would be happy to be interviewed by Mr. Imus,” according to the Sun.
But Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are “thought be wary of resuming their link to him,” the Sun observes.
Imus’ scheduled his debut show to air from Town Hall in Manhattan, with seats in the audience selling for $100 each. The money is earmarked for his charity, the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids With Cancer. On Tuesday the show will move to a studio across the street from Madison Square Garden.
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