Congressional candidate Teddy Turner defends comments about 'black students'

gsmith@islandpacket.comFebruary 14, 2013 

Teddy Turner

Congressional candidate Teddy Turner said a short video clip sent to reporters Thursday -- in which he says it is difficult for him to relate to his black students -- gives an inaccurate representation of a recent speech he gave.

The video, shot during a Republican club meeting in Charleston a few weeks ago, shows Turner, an economics teacher at a private school in the Charleston area, speaking to a group of white voters.

"The reason it became so important to me meeting Tim (Scott) was Tim is not like a lot of us," Turner tells the group, referring to now Sen. Tim Scott, who held the 1st Congressional District seat until December. Turner is one of 18 candidates now seeking the seat, which represents part of Beaufort County.

"Tim is black. I have black students that I work with all the time, and I try to talk to them and relate to them, and it's very hard for me to do," Turner tells the group.

On Thursday, Turner said the full video clip would show that he was making the point that the Republican Party is not doing a good job of reaching out to minorities. But Scott is doing a good job and is proof that such outreach can be successful, he said.

"It's ridiculous, and I wish they had shown the whole clip," said Turner, son of media mogul Ted Turner.

Turner said he is able to relate to his African-American students.

"But I cannot relate as quickly as (Tim Scott) can. It's harder for me to do and we need more candidates, more teachers, more everything who can relate," he said.

"It is easier for one minority (to relate) to another than (it is) for me."

The video was on YouTube on Thursday morning but was taken down from the site in the afternoon.

Rumors flew Thursday that various rival campaigns sent the video. Those campaigns denied involvement.

Attempts Thursday to reach Scott were unsuccessful.

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