Obama delegate stays on after remark

April 9, 2008 8:45:57 PM PDT
An Illinois woman who referred to black children as "monkeys" said Wednesday she is staying on as a delegate for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Obama campaign had said Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski was stepping down, but she says that was never her plan.

"I was elected by the people to represent Senator Obama, and I will continue to do what the people want," she said.

The incident took place Saturday, when two children were playing in a tree next door to Ramirez-Sliwinski's house.

Their parents were outside supervising the children, but Ramirez-Sliwinski says she went over and told them to get out of the tree because she was concerned about the boys' safety and the small magnolia tree was being damaged. She said the children shouldn't be climbing in the tree like monkeys.

The mother of one boy called police, who issued Ramirez-Sliwinski a $75 ticket for disorderly conduct. Police say the ticket was warranted because her remark scared one of the children and disturbed a parent.

Ramirez-Sliwinski says the word wasn't meant racially and she will fight the ticket. She also says she doesn't plan to run for another term as a Carpentersville village trustee.

The Obama campaign said Wednesday it respects her decision to stay on as a delegate and believes she didn't intend any offense by using the word "monkeys."

"It is clear the incident was a misunderstanding," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said.