Too dumb to check. NAACP chief’s gaffe at Gridiron dinner

posted at 8:01 am on March 13, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

Is it true? I have no idea. But it showed up in the pages of the Washington Post, so It must be … okay. Poor rationale, but still…

Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, attended the annual Gridiron charity dinner this year and allegedly ran into a bit of an awkward situation. Still feeling a bit of resentment over the recent arguments given at the Supreme Court over challenges to the Voting Rights Act, Ben apparently thought that he’s found a sympathetic ear with another guest at the event.

The distinguished-looking gentleman told Jealous he thought the NAACP Legal Defense Fund lawyer had done a fine job arguing that the law needed to be continued.

Sure, but what happened to the solicitor general? Jealous wondered aloud, he was just awful.

Well, I am the solicitor general, Donald Verrilli Jr. replied.

An apparently mortified Jealous apologized profusely and excused himself from the table for what seemed to folks at the table an awfully long time, returning just about when the famous Gridiron petits fours arrived with coffee.

Wapo insists that they have two separate witnesses to the encounter and that they claim that Jealous returned some time later and continued his string of apologies to Donald Verrilli Jr. It’s hard to imagine how uncomfortable the entree and dessert must have been after that little exchange. But, again… did it happen? Jealous is insisting it didn’t.

We heard this story from two separate witnesses who overheard every word of the only-in-Washington conversation. Jealous, however, doesn’t remember it that way. “It didn’t happen,” an NAACP spokesman tells the Loop.

Still, there’s a moral to the story: In Washington, always know to whom you’re speaking. (And who’s within earshot.)

You be the judge. But either way, I just thought I’d start your morning with one of those perfectly awful moments which characterize the minefield life inside the Beltway. Of course, I’d have paid extra to have been at the table.


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