BILOXI, Miss - The press secretary to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, abruptly resigned on Monday after media reports of off-color jokes about Japan in an e-mail.
Dan Turner resigned just hours after media reports of his comments in a daily e-mail sent on Friday to the governor's staff and other political allies.
According to a recipient of the e-mail, Turner joked that on that day in 1968, "Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for his single, '(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay."' The e-mail added: "Not a big hit in Japan right now."
The e-mail also said: "In 1993: Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the first female attorney general. (It took longer to confirm her gender than to confirm her law license.)"
Turner, a Mississippi native, veteran journalist and congressional staff member, was named press secretary for Barbour in 2008.
"Governor Haley Barbour has accepted Dan Turner's resignation as press secretary. Laura Hipp will now serve in that capacity," a statement from Barbour's office said Monday.
Barbour, a powerhouse in the Republican Party who is a former chairman of the Republican Governor's Association, says he will decide in April whether to seek the Republican nomination to face President Barack Obama in 2012.
The flap over Turner is the latest embarrassment for Barbour, who earlier this year was criticized for comments on race that some said downplayed white racism in Mississippi during the the Civil Rights upheavals of the 1960s.
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