After Bob Dole Accepts Greg Orman's Apology For Clown-Car Comment, Orman Denies He Apologized

An unforced error made by Kansas Independent Senate candidate Greg Orman, last week, was exacerbated when he when he made a point of not apologizing for it days later.

The confusion stems from a comment Orman made on Friday ridiculing the Republican luminaries who have been stumping for Republican Senator Pat Roberts in Kansas. U.S. Sens. John McCain, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Bob Dole have all stumped for Roberts in Kansas but the 91 year old Kansas native Dole has been his most ardent campaigner.

Via James Rosen reporting for Fox News:

Asked about Roberts’s latest set of surrogates during a sparsely attended event of his own near the Missouri border on Friday, Orman snapped: “It sort of seems like a Washington establishment clown car to me,” adding: “Every day a new person comes out of that car.”

Dole, a war hero who is highly revered in Kansas, said that Orman had apologized for the outburst, telling Rosen during a chance encounter at the Kansas City airport on Sunday, “he sent me a very lengthy apology.” 

When asked if he had accepted Orman’s apology, Dole replied, “Oh, sure. He said he hadn’t meant to refer to me or my record, which he said he has a lot of respect for.”

But Orman says he didn’t apologize.

Reached for comment about the email Dole described, Orman campaign officials told Fox News that while they do not want to get into a “debate” with the 1996 GOP nominee, the email Orman sent him was not an apology, per se, but rather an attempt to set the record straight after others “misconstrued” Orman’s remarks. They insist Orman has nothing to apologize for and simply took the opportunity to restate his longstanding and previously expressed admiration for Dole.
Roberts immediately blasted the Orman campaign for what he called a “non-apology.”

Orman campaign officials supplied Fox News with Orman’s email to prove that Orman had not formally apologize to the injured WWII veteran.

“I have the utmost respect for you, and often speak favorably of your distinguished service to the great state of Kansas and of your ability to forge reasoned, principled and common-ground solutions with Senators from across the political spectrum (it is the skill so desperately missing in Washington today),” Orman wrote in the email.

“The remark the Roberts campaign is quoting has been deliberately taken out of context. My reference to a ‘clown car’ was commenting on the near-endless number of political supporters of Senator Roberts who have piled out of Washington to support him, none of whom I think are clowns. I certainly wasn’t calling you – or any of the others supporting Senator Roberts – a ‘clown.’ As you may have noticed during this campaign, I refuse to stoop to character assassinations, have eschewed negative campaigning and will not use rhetoric of that sort.”

I hope that clears things up. Orman says Bob Dole and the other Republican pols who piled out of that clown-car in Kansas, are not actually clowns.  Those of us who jumped to the conclusion that it would generally be clowns  riding around in a clown-car – not people Orman has “the utmost respect for” – are guilty of taking his words “deliberately out of context.”