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Vincent Sheheen’s “Apu” Moment




S.C. State Senator Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) is facing criticism from Republican officials in the wake of an allegedly racist comment made about “Republican” Gov. Nikki Haley during a newspaper editorial board meeting.

“She shows up at every 7-11 that hires a clerk,” Sheheen told The Aiken Standard this week. “It’s wonderful that this country has been coming out of the recession, but we’re way behind. There is a record number of people dropping out of the workforce.”

First of all, Sheheen is right … South Carolina’s unemployment rate has been falling, but that’s because the state’s labor participation rate is hovering at all-time lows.

But referencing Haley – an Indian-American – in the same sentence as “7-11 clerk?”

Probably not smart …

“When will South Carolina Democrats actually think before they speak?” a leading Haley backer told FITS. “You would have thought they learned after the ‘Sikh Jesus’ incident and Harpootlian.”

For those of you not hip to the local history, our source is referring to an infamous comment made by S.C. Senate Democratic Caucus director Phil Bailey – and more recent comments made by former S.C. Democratic Party chairman Dick Hartpootlian.

Prior to that, a member of Haley’s own party once referred to her as a “rag head.”

Don’t get us wrong, this isn’t a controversy … or at least it isn’t yet. However if national Republicans realize they can accuse Sheheen of calling Haley a “7-11 clerk” (thus forcing him to explain the nuance of his actual statement) – watch out.

Democrats have been playing the race card hot and heavy lately against the GOP … don’t be surprised if the GOP uses a misquote of Sheheen’s remark in response.

UPDATE: Obviously our headline is an homage to Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, proprietor of the Springfield Kwik-E-Mart on The Simpsons. “Thank you! Come again!”

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