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State superintendent Huppenthal apologizes for blog comments, refuses to step down

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State superintendent Huppenthal apologizes for blog comments, refuses to step down

By Justin Schecker. CREATED Jun 25, 2014

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Under fire for controversial anonymous blog posts, the superintendent of Arizona's schools John Huppenthal offered a public apology on Wednesday before struggling to keep it together.

Huppenthal abruptly ended the press conference as he wiped away tears and walked away from the podium. 

"I am here today because of those hurtful blog comments," he said. 
 
Huppenthal repeatedly repudiated and renounced his comments while fielding questions from reporters for 27 minutes. 
 
"They are not what is in my mind, they don't reflect the love that is in my heart, and they especially don't reflect the actions of myself and especially my employees in this agency," Huppenthal said.  
 
Huppenthal admitted last week he's the author using aliases online such as Thucydides and Falcon9. Since then, he has been in hot water, especially for offensive posts about the poor. 
 
"Obama is rewarding the lazy pigs with food stamps," Huppenthal wrote using the name Thucydides. 
 
Critics are calling some of his harsh comments racist. A recently discovered post says "No Spanish radio stations, no Spanish billboards, no Spanish TV stations, no Spanish newspaper. This is America, speak English."
 
In a post from September 2013 on the liberal Blog for Arizona, Huppenthal called TUSD's Mexican-American studies program "we hate Whitey."
 
Tucson education blogger David Safier questions Huppenthal's ethics as a public servant because he often wrote about himself in third person. 
 
"That's not mere anonymity, that's true deception," Safier told 9 On Your Side last week. 
 
But despite the backlash -- even former state school superintendents calling for his resignation -- Huppenthal says he won't step down from the state's top education post. 
 
"The way that I was brought up is when you say something that's hurtful, you apologize for it, you understand why it was hurtful, then you move forward in service," Huppenthal said.
 

Huppenthal is up for re-election in November. He told reporters he has no plans to drop out of the August Republican primary.  

Justin Schecker

Justin Schecker

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Justin Schecker reports for KGUN 9 ON Your Side at 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00. He joined KGUN9 in September of 2012 and spent his first year in Tucson covering overnight breaking news for Good Morning Tucson.