ANAHEIM (CBS SF) — U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez is apologizing after a videotape surfaced showing her making a “whooping cry” in reference to Native Americans during a talk with constituents during the state Democratic Convention in Southern California this weekend.
“I’m going to his office thinking that I’m going to go meet with (lalalala) right? Because he said Indian American,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez was telling members of the Indian American Caucus that she got a call from a man in the Indian American community who offered to help her get elected. But apparently she was confused and assumed the man was Native American.
Sanchez spoke before delegates Sunday, saying that people make mistakes.
“In this crazy and exciting rush of meetings yesterday, I said something offensive and for that, I sincerely apologize,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez just announced this past week that she is running for Barbara Boxer’s US Senate Seat.
The man who filmed Sanchez’s “war cry” said several people in the room found it insensitive to Native Americans.
“Oh, I was shocked and appalled that she would make the disparaging comments about Native Americans that way, it’s just very undemocratic,” Long Beach Delegate Uduak-Joe Ntuk said.
A short time later, Sanchez’s opponent Kamala Harris was told what had happened. Harris is half Indian.
“Um, you know, I don’t know what to say to that except that, that’s shocking. That’s shocking,” Harris said.
During the apology, Sanchez made the revelation that she herself is part Native American.
“I am proudly part Native American on my mother’s side,” Sanchez said.
Despite that revelation, KPIX 5 Political Analyst Joe Tuman says it will be hard for Sanchez to recover from the comment.
“The fact that she didn’t issue an appology until much later, the fact that she was seen running away from reporters not wanting to talk about this, is politically also very damaging for the campaign,” Tuman said.