POLITICS
07/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rusty DePass, South Carolina GOP Activist, Says Escaped Gorilla Was Ancestor Of Michelle Obama (VIDEO)

South Carolina GOP activist and former chairman of the state elections commission Rusty DePass has apologized for saying a gorilla that escaped from a zoo was an "ancestor" of Michelle Obama.

The controversy started when FITSNews, a local politics Website, obtained a screengrab of DePass's comment on Facebook.

After an aide to state Attorney General Henry McMaster detailed the escape of the gorilla from Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo, DePass responded with a comment: "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."

DePass later admitted to WIS News that he was referring to Michelle Obama and said, "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest."

DePass, who was a county co-chair for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 campaign, supported the push to impeach President Bill Clinton in the late 90s, writing in an op-ed for The State, "Do Republicans have higher moral standards than Democrats?"

Watch CNN's report on the controversy: