(AP) - A Republican congressman suggested that President Barack Obama favors blacks over whites, prompting a GOP candidate to cancel a fundraiser headlined by the Iowa lawmaker.
Rep. Steve King, known for sometimes incendiary remarks about immigration, Abu Ghraib and other issues, criticized Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, who also is black, in an interview Monday on G. Gordon Liddy's nationally syndicated radio talk show.
"I'm offended by Eric Holder and the president also, their posture," King said. "It looks like Eric Holder said that white people in America are cowards when it comes to race."
King continued: "The president has demonstrated that he has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race on the side that favors the black person in the case of professor Gates and officer Crowley."
He was alluding to last year's incident in which Obama commented on a white police officer's arrest of a black professor from Harvard University.
As news of King's remarks spread, Colorado Republican Cory Gardner canceled a planned $100 per-plate fundraiser where King was to speak.
King, a four-term lawmaker, made similar remarks about Obama in a speech last month.
"When he had an Irish cop and a black professor, who'd he side with?" King said. "He jumped to a conclusion without having heard the facts. And he ended up having to have a beer summit. The president of the United States has got to articulate a mission. And instead, he's playing race-bait games to undermine the law enforcement in the state of Arizona and across the country."
King, a former construction company owner, drew earlier criticism for comments about the Iraq war. He said the news media exaggerated the story of abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
And after compiling what he called an accurate civilian violent death rate for Iraq, he said living there was safer than in some U.S. cities, including New Orleans and Detroit.
Christopher Reed, an Iowa conservative activist, defended King.
"He is one of those few politicians who really says what he thinks," Reed said. "One man's controversial is another man's truth."