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Joke Leaves ’em Gasping

Obama quip stuns Citizen of the West banquet crowd

A Greeley businessman apologized Wednesday after a joke about Illinois Sen. Barack Obama fell flat during the National Western Stock Show’s annual Citizen of the West banquet.

William R. Farr was pretending to read telegrams congratulating this year’s award recipient, University of Colorado President Hank Brown, when he pulled out a piece of paper and said, “I have a telegram from the White House.”

Then he added, “They’re going to have to change the name of that building if Obama’s elected.”

Witnesses said they could hear people gasp in the ballroom of the Adam’s Mark Hotel.

“I gasped,” said Gov. Bill Ritter, who was sitting at the table with Farr.Mayor John Hickenlooper said, “I don’t think he (Farr) intended any mischief or malice, but it was inappropriate.”

Afterward, Farr said he regretted making the remark and apologized to anyone offended.

“I apologize for that,” Farr told a reporter as soon as the banquet ended.

“I mistook it to be humorous, but it was something I shouldn’t have said.”

Farr, a member of a pioneering Colorado ranching family, also said he regrets detracting from an evening intended to honor Brown, a longtime friend.

“All that I can say about that is that it was unfortunate and most inappropriate,” said Albert Yates, a former president of Colorado State University, who is black.


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