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Apology follows email referring to Michelle Obama as ‘Mrs. YoMama’

Updated: February 7, 2012 8:34AM

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal apologized Thursday for forwarding an email poking fun at first lady Michelle Obama and referring to her as “Mrs. YoMama.”

The Lawrence Journal-World reported Thursday that O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, sent the email from his personal account. The email also had a photo comparing Mrs. Obama to the Grinch and the subject line, “Twins separated at birth?”

The photo has been circulating on the Internet and shows Mrs. Obama’s hair being swept by the wind, recalling a drawing of the fictional Dr. Seuss character from the classic Christmas cartoon. In forwarding the email, O’Neal joked that he’d “had worse hair days.”

“Cartoons are intended to be humorous,” O’Neal said in a statement. “This one made me laugh — I’ve had bad hair days too. I forwarded it too quickly, missing the text included in the body of the email. To those I have offended, I am sorry. That was not at all my intent.”

It was the second email O’Neal sent from his personal account regarding President Barack Obama and his family. The Journal-World reports that O’Neal recently sent along an email to House Republicans referring to the president with a Bible verse that says, “Let his days be few and brief.”

Spokeswoman Alyson Rodee said the email was referring to Obama’s days in office.

Rodee defended the forwarding of the second email, describing it as a “lighthearted political cartoon.” She said it also dealt with “extravagant spending of taxpayer funds” by the first lady when many Americans are struggling.

“I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mrs. YoMama a wonderful, long Hawaii Christmas vacation — at our expense, of course,” the email says. Mrs. Obama and the president, a Democrat, spent the holidays in Hawaii, where he was born and mostly raised.

But Kansas Democratic party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon said the email demeaned the first lady and that forwarding it was “highly offensive, disrespectful and unacceptable.”

“Regardless of how he feels about President Obama’s politics, Speaker O’Neal’s decision to promote language demeaning Mrs. Obama is simply wrong,” Wagnon said.

The earlier email, also circulating on the Internet, refers to a bumper sticker that reads “Pray for Obama. Psalm 109:8.” The verse says, “Let his days be few and brief; and let others step forward to replace him.”

“At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!”


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