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William Batchelder, Ohio House Speaker, Called To Apologize Over Joking That Obama Should Be Jailed

Batchelder Obama Joke

02/22/12 04:12 PM ET  AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A Democratic state lawmaker is asking the Ohio House speaker to apologize for a joke suggesting President Barack Obama should be jailed – but Republican William Batchelder says he won't take back what he viewed as a light-hearted quip.

Rep. Vernon Sykes blasted the remark as "absolutely deplorable."

Batchelder was introducing presidential candidate Rick Santorum to a crowd of about 1,200 at a Lincoln Day dinner Saturday. Batchelder said in suggesting Obama shouldn't be re-elected: "The liberals are asking us to give Obama more time. And I think 25-to-life would be a good start."

Sykes called it disrespectful to Obama and his office.

Batchelder said Wednesday he borrowed the joke from comedian Jay Leno and meant no disrespect.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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