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Jim Coughlan, a Republican comptroller for Dutchess County, N.Y,, a northern suburb of New York City, is in hot water after he referred to MSNBC news anchor Melissa Harris-Perry as a “damned dirty ape,” the New York Daily News reports. The tweet was in response to remarks Harris-Perry made about child-rearing. Coughlan said he had no idea that Harris-Perry is black and denied the comment had racist undertones

Jim Coughlan, a Republican who is also eyeing a state Senate seat, made the comment in response to an ad Harris-Perry made in which she made reference to the need for communities, not just parents, to take responsibility for the well-being of children.

“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: ‘Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility,'” Harris-Perry says in the ad that remains controversial among conservatives.

“We have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities,” she adds.

Coughlan said he had no idea that Harris-Perry is black and denied the comment had racist undertones, saying he simply repeating a “well-known quote from the Planet of the Apes.”

“I don’t watch MSNBC,” he said. “I don’t know about their stories or their journalists.”

White man, please.

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