Former SC official apologizes for racial remark

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A former South Carolina election official has apologized for his Internet posting that compared a gorilla to an ancestor of first lady Michelle Obama.

Former state Election Commission Chairman Rusty DePass read a statement during an NAACP news conference Wednesday in Columbia, saying his comments were offensive and foolish.

DePass also said he apologized to the first lady in a letter. He would not release the letter.

Minutes after the report of a brief gorilla escape from a Columbia zoo Friday, DePass posted on a Facebook page that he was sure "it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless." The posting then was publicized on a state politics blog.

NAACP President Lonnie Randolph said the apology was an improvement on DePass' earlier attempt to defend his comments.

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