Washington DC, Dec. 16 2008 -- During the evening hours of December 15, 2008, Frank Spula, the president of the Polish American Congress, received a phone call from US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) in regards to the recent "Polish jokes" made by the Senator during his remarks addressed to the Commonwealth Club, a Pennsylvania Republican group that met in New York on Friday, December 12.
After exchanging pleasantries, Senator Specter expressed his regrets and said that he was "out of line" in his remarks and that he "apologizes profusely".
President Spula explained to the Senator the deepest concern voiced in recent days by the members of the Polish American community, as well as by numerous Americans with no Polish heritage, and who considered the remarks equally offensive.
Spula emphasized that the concern cannot be eased by mere words and urged that a written statement of apology and explanation be issued by the Senator's office. The Senator confirmed that the written apology would be issued shortly.
The Polish American community nationwide, more than 10 million strong, as well as Poles in Poland who found out about the incident from the media, felt deeply insulted by the Senator's words.
"It would be equally unthinkable if any elected official made similar remarks in regards to any other group," said Spula. "It really does not matter which group is targeted– all jokes ridiculing people based on their ethnicity, religion or race are unacceptable!"
The following day, December 16th, 2008, Spula received the following letter:
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