The head of Orange County's Republican Party is vowing to keep up the pressure on a local GOP official to resign for sending an offensive email about President Barack Obama.
"This issue will not go away until she has taken 100 percent responsibility for sending out a racist email that offended millions," Chairman Scott Baugh said.
He commented by telephone on Wednesday after Marilyn Davenport, speaking for the first time, said she will not resign and had no racist intentions when she sent the email.
The message depicts Obama's face superimposed over a baby chimp's. The text under the image reads, "Now you know why _ No birth certificate!"
Davenport, 74, represents the 72nd Assembly District on the GOP's Orange County Central Committee, a group of elected volunteers who raise funds and campaign for the party.
"I feel that it was inappropriate and I offended people," Davenport said outside her suburban ranch-style home. "I think it's only racist when the intent in my heart is to make it that way, and that was not the intent in my heart."
Davenport, who is serving her fourth two-year term and is up for re-election in 2012, acknowledged that she didn't send the email to some friends because she felt they would be offended. She added, however, that she only saw the image as political satire about "all that's going on with (Obama's) birth certificate."
Some voters have maintained since the latest presidential election that Obama is ineligible to hold the nation's highest elected office because, they say, he was actually born in Kenya, his father's homeland. Obama's mother was an American citizen.
Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship, and his Hawaiian birth certificate has been made public. Courts have rebuffed lawsuits challenging Obama's eligibility.
Shortly after Davenport's remarks, the California State NAACP demanded that she apologize to Obama and asked GOP officials to begin recall procedures.
Baugh said a recall wasn't feasible because of the expense. He said, however, he wouldn't let the issue drop.
"I'm going to continue to put pressure on her to resign," Baugh said.