FULLERTON, Calif. — The head of Orange County's Republican Party is vowing to keep up the pressure on a local GOP official to resign for sending an offensive email about President Barack Obama.
Marilyn Davenport spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday and said she considered the email depicting Obama as a chimpanzee political satire — not racism. She reiterated that she will not resign from her elected post on the Republican Party's Orange County Central Committee.
"I feel that it was inappropriate and I offended people," Davenport said outside her suburban ranch-style home. "I think it's only racist when the intent in my heart is to make it that way, and that was not the intent in my heart."
The email depicts Obama's face superimposed over the baby chimp's and the text under the image reads, "Now you know why — No birth certificate!"
Shortly after her remarks, the California State NAACP demanded that she apologize to Obama and asked GOP officials to begin recall procedures against her.
In response to the NAACP's demands, Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh said a recall wasn't feasible because of the expense. He said, however, he wouldn't let the issue drop.
"I'm going to continue to put pressure on her to resign. This issue will not go away until she has taken 100 percent responsibility for sending out a racist email that offended millions," he said in a phone interview.
Davenport, who is serving her fourth two-year term, acknowledged that she didn't send the email to some friends because she felt they would be offended. She added, however, that she only saw the image as political satire about "all that's going on with (Obama's) birth certificate."
Some voters have maintained since the latest presidential election that Obama is ineligible to hold the nation's highest elected office because, they say, he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland. Obama's mother was an American citizen.
Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificate has been made public. Courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility.
Until Wednesday, Davenport had not publicly addressed the firestorm created by the email.
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