Racist, extreme or just crazy? GOP leaders mum on Arpaio investigation

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Racist, extreme or just crazy? GOP leaders mum on Arpaio investigation

CREATED Jul 18, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -It's not easy getting Republican leaders to talk about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but 9OYS tried anyway. A day after Arpaio stirred up the birther controversy once more, 9OYS had questions about the so-called "America's toughest sheriff's" motivations.

Racist, extreme or just plain crazy? What's behind Sheriff Joe Arpaio's obsession with the President's birth certificate?

"I thought it was hilarious," said Peter Goudinoff, a political science professor at the University of Arizona. "I mean he makes a fool of himself and a fool of Arizona."

Goudinoff says this latest Arpaio antic is forcing the GOP to duck for cover.

"They rather not talk about it, do nothing say nothing," Goudinoff said.

That's exactly what 9OYS found when reporter Marcelino Benito tried getting answers from GOP leaders. Few called back and the ones that did skirted around the issue. Pima County Sheriff candidate Mark Napier tells 9OYS, "Joe is very tenacious, but the issue has been put to bed." GOP committeeman Bruce Ash says, "the economy is the party's focus."

"Quite frankly it's just stupid," said Republican city councilman Steve Kozachik.

Kozachik says this is just another example of Arizona's extremism. He says the state is perceived as an embarrassment across the country.

"People scratch their heads and say what are we drinking down here," Kozachik said.

Goudinoff says Arpaio's report is so far-fetched, it makes Arizona look as extreme as states like Mississippi did during the Civil Right's Movement.

"These are old white people who see America changing, and they don't like it," he said.

Kozachik, albeit a moderate Republican, says Arizona can't afford that way of thinking any longer. He's one voice calling on Joe to go.

"This isn't a partisan issue," Kozachik said. "Cash your chips Joe, and let us get a Sheriff who won't embarrass the state."

The state of Hawaii did respond to the sheriff's latest allegations. A state official says the allegations are untrue, misinformed and a misrepresentation of Hawaii law.

The sheriff is due in court Thursday morning for a federal lawsuit alleging racial discrimination. Stay with 9OYS for the latest news on Arpaio's day in court.

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