LOS ANGELES - Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame, announced Tuesday that he is withdrawing from consideration for the 2008 Republican Presidential primaries after being assailed by criticism from both major parties for racially derogatory outbursts made by Richards at Hollywood's 'The Laugh Factory'
Richards' remarks came in response to heckling from two African American audience members, and involved the former television star calling the hecklers by the N word while making reference to lynchings carried out against the African American community decades ago.
In response, Richards has described the incident as a 'botched joke' which he claims had gone over positively with the largely Republican crowds at his recent fundraising rallies. Richards further claimed that the remarks come not from 'bigotry' but rage over the current state of the Republican party and its recent losses.
"People who are dwelling on a verbal slippage are really just using it as means to avoid focusing on the real issues at hand." Richards told Fox recently.
Richards, largely considered the Republican frontrunner for the 2008 Presedential race, over McCain and Guiliani, has been hailed by fellow republicans for his ability to 'think outside of the box' and was generally thought of as the face of the new republican party
Richards early campaigning for the distant election focused on innovative proposals with bipartisan appeal such as the much lauded employment stimulous plan, which would allow jobless individuals control over assigned interns, and the eco-friendly 'oil bladder' initiative which would require bladder certification for all tankers passing through US waters.
Politcial analyst Steven Prior states, "Richard's recent outburst proves that he is not the visionary centrist that the party had hoped would capture swing voters in 2008 and that his values fall more in line with that of the old guard."
Richards hasn't lost all of his Republican backing however. Newly elected Minority Whip Senator Trent Lott commented, "He would have had my vote and I'm just worried that in two years the party's going to be kicking itself for not following his lead." Also showing support for the beleaguered Richards is ousted Virginia Senator George Allen who told Fox earlier today "You just can't know how to please every audience."
Richards has stated that while he will no longer run as a Republican he has not ruled out campaigning as an independent and that he would hold off on the decision until the new year.