Barbour Spokesman Steps Down After Making Japan Joke

Posted March 14, 2011 at 7:30pm

The press secretary for Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential GOP presidential candidate, has resigned following off-color jokes he made in an e-mail Friday, Barbour’s office said Monday.

Dan Turner compiled morning roundups for Barbour’s staff and “allies,” and Friday’s e-mail made light of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and poked fun at former Attorney General Janet Reno, Politico reported Monday.

Under the section that noted historic events that fell on March 11, Turner wrote that in 1968, “Otis Redding posthumously received a gold record for his single, ‘(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay’. (Not a big hit in Japan right now.)”

He also wrote: “In 1993: Janet Reno was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become the first female attorney general. (It took longer to confirm her gender than to confirm her law license.)”

It was not the first time that Turner made such jokes in the morning e-mail, Politico reported.

The former journalist was a communications director and district representative for Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.), who did not run for re-election in 2008. Turner was named Barbour’s press secretary in December 2008.

In a short statement Monday, Barbour’s office announced: “Gov. Haley Barbour has accepted Dan Turner’s resignation as Press Secretary. Laura Hipp will now serve in that capacity.”