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Spiro Agnew's 'Fat Jap' Flap – 1968

Feeding Frenzy Shortly after characterizing Polish-Americans as "Polacks," Spiro T. Agnew, the Greek-American Republican candidate for vice president on Richard Nixon's ticket, referred to Gene Oishi, a Japanese-American campaign reporter from the Baltimore Sun, as "the fat Jap." Agnew, governor of Maryland at the time, had known the journalist for years and claimed the remark was in jest, but others saw the quip as more evidence of Agnew's ethnic insensitivity.

After some initial hesitation due in part to Oishi's reluctance to go public, The Washington Post eventually broke the story, forcing a flustered Agnew to offer excuses and then apologies.

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© Copyright 1998 Larry J. Sabato

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