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Friday, April 25, 2014

After offensive remarks, NH man standing by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy

New Hampshire resident Jerry DeLemus is standing by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy after offensive comments published in The New York Times quoted Bundy as saying African-Americans might have been “better off as slaves.”

“If that is what he said, he mispoke,” DeLemus said Thursday. “He was trying to make a point, but he took the long way around the barn to get there.” ...

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New Hampshire resident Jerry DeLemus is standing by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy after offensive comments published in The New York Times quoted Bundy as saying African-Americans might have been “better off as slaves.”

“If that is what he said, he mispoke,” DeLemus said Thursday. “He was trying to make a point, but he took the long way around the barn to get there.”

Bundy’s comments have attracted worldwide attention as the standoff between Bundy, dozens of armed activists and militiamen and federal agents over grazing rights continues into its third week.

Republican politicians from around the country who have rallied to Cliven Bundy’s defense in recent weeks denounced the comments and distanced themselves from the rancher, including potential 2016 presidential contender Sen. Rand Paul and Nevada Sen. Dean Heller. Democrats were quick to pounce on the comments and label Bundy a racist.

In an interview with New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney, Bundy said African-Americans “abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.”

Bundy also referred to African-American’s as “the Negro” in his remarks.

DeLemus came to Bundy’s aid in the days after his clash with federal agents and pledged to stay there and make sure the government’s “lawless behavior won’t be tolerated.”

DeLemus said he doesn’t believe Bundy is racist and pointed out that the rancher has “several” African-American men on security detail at his Bunkerville ranch.

“They all love him,” DeLemus said. “There’s not a racist bone in his body.”

DeLemus said Bundy was trying to make a point about welfare and how “it’s decimated the black family.”

“Families all around America were stronger before government programs,” DeLemus said.

But DeLemus, a native of Rochester, said he doesn’t know how much longer he can stay in Nevada with Bundy.

“I am wanting to go home,” DeLemus said. “I want to see my wife, and I don’t know how much more there is we can do.”

DeLemus said, if he leaves the Bundy ranch, “it wouldn’t be because I think he’s a racist.”

Bradford Randall can be reached at 594-6557 or brandall@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow Randall on Twitter (@telegraph_bradr). Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.