By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Ohio Senate President Doug White admitted making an anti-Semitic remark at a Cleveland event recently but said he apologized to state Jewish leaders after he realized that some in the audience found it offensive.
"The comment was a very offhand one that I had no knowledge of its sensitivity. It's one I've used very seldom in my life," said Mr. White, a Republican from Manchester.
At a Cleveland fund-raiser before the Nov. 5 election, Mr. White used the expression "we need to Jew them down," which many Jewish people find objectionable and based on an offensive stereotype.
Mr. White was sworn in last week as senate president, replacing the retiring Richard Finan, R-Evendale.
He said it came in the context of a joke about a rodeo. Then, as if to say that he was a product of his rural upbringing, he said, "I grew up in Adams County." He referred further questions to Jewish leaders.
Joyce Garver Keller, director of the Ohio Jewish Communities in Columbus, said many people at the fund-raiser audience were surprised to hear the remark, but would not judge the senator based solely on one statement.
"There were some people who were taken aback, I think, more than anything, and there was some good dialogue in the community about that expression, and what it means," she said.
"I told the senator he had to work on the Adams County expressions he grew up with, and he understood that," Ms. Keller said.
Dick Weiland, a Cincinnati lobbyist whose clients include Jewish organizations, said Mr. White is "as good a friend as the Jewish community can have."
"There is not a bone of anti-Semitism in him," he said.
Representatives of the Cleveland region of the Anti-Defamation League, which fights anti-Jewish discrimination, could not be reached Saturday because it was the Sabbath.
SPECIAL REPORT: ON THE STREET WITH VIOLENT CRIME SQUADS:
Drug dealers do little time
Photo sequence of a police chase and capture
Police, community effort made Burnet Avenue safer, for now
Police take new tack on drug arrests
A-list pitches in for Taft inaugural
Monday's inaugural schedule
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Heimlich's aim: Treat county like business
Four cousins born in 36 hours
Kids mental health center opens
Senate president admits anti-Semitic remark
Archbishop addresses sex abuse crisis
AROUND THE TRISTATE
Activists urge opposition to war
Tristate A.M. Report
Obituary: Fr. Stanley Tillman, Jesuit educator
Obituary: E. 'Buddy Roger' Rohs, 85, leader of big band
Good News: Writer promoting prayer to stop violence
PULFER: Whose turn is it to help the poor?
BRONSON: No excuse for Demagoguery 101
SMITH-AMOS: T-shirts show pride in police work
CROWLEY: Dems tired of losing and doing something about it
Bicentennial Notebook: Warren touts 200th birthday
Ohio Moments: Mormon leader fled after his bank failed
Mom indicted for disposing of twins' corpses in trash
Guard call-ups affect local police agencies
Craven retrial date sought
Beechwood, CovCath to revive rivalry
PTA secretary charged with raping students
Arrest made in '93 killing of Ky. singer
Life remains bleak for some counties in Appalachia
Lexington move to ban smoking drags on