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Dewhurst gives Van de Putte a way out

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he hopes Sen. Leticia Van de Putte simply misheard another Senator make a racial slur.

Dewhurst also backed off the previous stance of his office calling for an investigation into whether an unnamed senator told Van de Putte that if Democratic senators acted “like Mexicans, you will be treated like Mexicans.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Dewhurst said, speaking to reporters shortly before a luncheon speech in San Antonio. “I really can’t believe any person in the Texas Senate would say such a thing.

“Sen. Van de Putte is a dear friend of mine, but maybe she didn’t hear correctly,” he said.

We’ll see if she amends her remarks. Meanwhile, her fellow Senator from San Antonio was less charitable.

“The thing that is offensive to me personally is that she hasn’t identified the senator,” said Sen. Jeff Wentworth, who said Van de Putte owes it to the public and the Texas Senate to name the senator who allegedly made the comments.

“I am a Republican senator along with 18 other Republican senators. So (she’s) put a cloud over all 19 of us,” he said.

Wentworth stopped short of saying Van de Putte lied about the incident, which she said occurred after 11 Senate Democrats returned to the capital last month from New Mexico, where they went to stall consideration of redistricting legislation.

“I just believe there’s got to be some way she misunderstood or exaggerated,” Wentworth said. He added that the “Capitol rumor mill is very healthy and I just can’t believe if that actually occurred, nobody has heard about it in three weeks.”

In Van de Putte’s corner is the American GI Forum.

“The senator who said this should identify himself or herself,” Ram Chavez said.

Asked how Dewhurst should draw an apology for a comment Dewhurst did not hear and from an unidentified senator, Chavez said, “He is the leader of the Texas Senate. He should call in his state senators and talk to them.”

Chavez was accompanied by Jesus Castillo of San Antonio, a GI forum member, who said he believes Van de Putte’s recollections.

“I believe her 100 percent. I know her. I grew up with her,” he said.

We’ll see. So far, this story hasn’t gotten much play outside of the Express News, so at least if Van de Putte backpedals her exposure is limited. For now, anyway.

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5 Comments

  1. Beldar says:

    Kuff, you missed the end of the same article in which Sens. Frank Madla and Judith Zaffirini — who Sen. Van de Putte claims were there to hear the remark — refuse to back her up.

  2. It’s in my earlier post, Beldar. There was nothing new this time, so I didn’t re-quote it.

  3. Beldar says:

    My bad — didn’t read down far enough. Sorry.

  4. Mark says:

    Charles,

    The story was linked to in today’s Eric Alterman column (“Altercation”) on MSNBC, so it’s gotten some play outside of the Express-News.

    –Mark

  5. I stand corrected. Thanks, Mark!