MANCHESTER — Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein acknowledged a “poor choice of words” when he used the term "teabaggers" during a 2010 speech that resurfaced online last week.
Havenstein’s campaign issued a statement from the candidate, who said the context of the speech was about Republican victories in 2010 and did not mean for his remarks to be disparaging.
“As anyone who watches the full video can clearly see, I was talking about the positive impact that the Republican victory in the 2010 elections had on shaking up the status quo. So it was obviously a poor choice of words,” Havenstein said in the release Friday.
“The great thing about our democracy is that we get to shake things up every two years, which is what I want to do this November.”
The references were posted online in a 17 second snipet from a much longer speech to business students at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business in 2010, when Havenstein was CEO of an in formation technology company.
“We got a lot of problems in this country. The teabaggers or whatever they are, they have been telling us that all summer long,” Havenstein said. “Isn’t that who they are? I am a little out of touch.”Havenstein was clearly trying for a light-hearted moment, but one of his opponents in the upcoming Republican primary did not see the humor in it.
Andrew Hemingway, who is also running for the GOP nomination to challenge Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan in November, issued his own statement about Havenstein’s remarks.
“Whether one likes the ‘Tea Party’ or doesn’t like the ‘Tea Party,’ everyone should be offended by this,” Hemingway said in a post on his campaign page on Facebook.
“People have referred to me as a Tea Partier and I always say this: If you mean an average citizen worried about the future of our country as it relates to over-taxation, over-regulation and limited liberty who is willing to stand up and work? Then fine. That’s who these people are.”