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Senator apologizes during debate for 'public hanging' comment

A white Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi has apologized for complimenting a supporter by saying she would attend a "public hanging" if he invited her to one.

Posted: Nov. 20, 2018 9:42 AM
Updated: Nov. 20, 2018 10:16 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A white Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi has apologized for complimenting a supporter by saying she would attend a "public hanging" if he invited her to one.

In a debate Tuesday night, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said she was apologizing to anyone offended by her comments. She says she meant no "ill will" and said critics have "twisted" her words to use as a "political weapon" against her.

Hyde-Smith's Democratic challenger, Mike Espy, says the words came out of Hyde-Smith's mouth and were not twisted. He says her statement gave Mississippi a "black eye" it doesn't need.

Mississippi has a history of racially motivated lynchings.

Espy, a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary, is seeking to become the state's first African-American senator since Reconstruction.

The winner of a Nov. 27 runoff gets the final two years of a term.

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