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Miss. Senate Candidate Chris McDaniel Distances Himself from Comments on Reparations and 'Mamacita'

3:16 PM, Apr 11, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel is widely regarded as the Tea Party candidate with the best shot of knocking off an incumbent U.S. senator in a GOP primary this year. Incumbent Thad Cochran, 76, is well-known for his love of pork-barrel spending and could easily lose a race decided by conservative primary voters. But establishment Republicans are now sounding the alarm about the Tea Party challenger's temperament in light of newly-surfaced audio of McDaniel making impolitic remarks on a radio show he once hosted.

“If they pass reparations [for slavery], and my taxes are going up, I ain’t paying taxes,” McDaniel said during a radio broadcast seven years ago, according to an audio clip posted by the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. McDaniel also had a riff about "regrettably" having to learn Spanish if he moved south of the border: "You’ll have to learn just enough to ask where the bathroom is. Baños. Baños. That’s what you say.” When someone else in the studio mentioned the word "mamacita," McDaniel said: "I’m an English-speaking Anglo. I have no idea what it means, actually, but I’ve said it a few times, just for, you know, fun. And I think it basically means, 'Hey, hot mama.' Or, you know, 'You’re a fine looking young thing.'"

In a phone interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD, McDaniel distanced himself from his past comments. Asked if he stood by his remark about not paying taxes if the government made payments to the descendants of slaves, McDaniel said: "No. Like most Americans, I'm gonna pay my taxes." 

Given some of his racially-tinged remarks, how would he be able to reach out to African-American voters? "I reach out to them because they are fellow Mississippians. I love them," McDaniel told me. "They're my friends. They're my neighbors. They're who I went to school with. They're who I played basketball with. They're wonderful human beings." People shouldn't be treated as "racial collectives" but rather as "individuals," McDaniel said, adding: "I reject racism in all its forms." 

McDaniel said that he was unable to comment on his "mamacita" remarks because he doesn't recall the context of the conversation. "I don't remember, it was almost ten years ago," McDaniel said. "I was a conservative talk radio host. We talked about dozens and dozens and dozens of issues."

Those dozens and dozens of radio broadcasts--a treasure trove of oppo research to be used against McDaniel and the Republican party writ large--strike fear into the hearts of Republicans in Washington. After McDaniel and I spoke, another audio clip was posted at Buzzfeed of him talking about the "boobies" of a Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in Alabama. In 2006, the candidate sold T-shirts juxtaposing a picture of her in a low-cut dress next to other candidates with the caption, "More of these BOOBS!! And Less Of these BOOBS!!"

"It's so interesting to see this woman, basically using her boobies—I shouldn't have said that—to using her breasts to run for office," McDaniel said on his radio show. "If that's not the most typical Libertarian platform I don't know what is. The only thing that could probably make the campaign more Libertarian is a heroin needle in her arm."

GOP consultant Brian Walsh, a former National Republican Senatorial Campaign staffer, says comments like these raise concerns that McDaniel could lose the general election. "Virtually no one thought we could lose Indiana last cycle either, but the reality is that candidates matter. And arguably McDaniel has the potential to be far worse than Richard Mourdock because he apparently has a long record, that's on tape mind you, of disparaging minorities, females, and who knows who else," Walsh said in an email. "That also has the potential to be a larger problem for the Republican Party when we have individuals like he, Todd Akin and others who unfortunately help define our party and turn off independent voters with their tone deaf rhetoric." 

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