Denver Post file State Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins.
State Sen. Vicki Marble is doubling down on the nationally covered controversy involving her and a Colorado Cub Scout in a Denver Post commentary, blaming the media and the boy’s mother for stoking the situation.
Marble, a Fort Collins Republican, maintained that her 2013 comments during a legislative hearing about mortality among blacks — in which she linked obesity among African Americans to Southern barbecue and chicken — were taken out of context, writing in her Tuesday piece that her words “somehow got twisted by the PC police.”
The comments resurfaced during a heated exchange earlier this month that Marble had with a Cub Scout when he pressed her about the 2013 remarks. A video of the encounter was widely circulated online.
“Through the echo effect of repeated retellings, it’s become a political myth,” Marble wrote Tuesday. “Now, fast-forward to the present. When one scout recently asked me about the controversy, phrasing the question in a way that mischaracterized what I said, I told him that the popular media narrative didn’t happen, because it didn’t include the context in which those comments were made.”
She said that her answer, during an Oct. 9 meeting with a Cub Scouts den, clarified the record.
“Taped snippets of my comments were posted by a politically motivated mom on YouTube and shared with a ‘progressive’ hit group, in obvious hopes of reviving the controversy,” Marble wrote. “Those looking to exploit the moment for political gain must have been hoping that some easily manipulated members of the ‘mainstream media’ would willingly play their part. And they have, with the Denver Post leading the pack.”
Ames Mayfield, an 11-year-old Cub Scout from Broomfield, asks a question of state Sen. Vicki Marble during a den-organized event on Oct. 9.
Ames Mayfield, a 11-year-old fifth-grader at Prospect Ridge Academy, asked Marble questions about gun control and her 2013 comments, saying: “I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”
“I didn’t. That was made up by the media,” Marble replied. “So, you want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down. I didn’t do that. That was false. Get both sides of the story.”
In 2013, Marble said during the legislative hearing on racial disparities and the poverty rate: “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race. Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can’t help it.
“Although I’ve got to say,” she then continued. “I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”
The remarks drew swift rebuke from then-state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, who is now a state senator. She said at the time she was “highly offended” and that Marble was “using stereotypical references.”
Ames was kicked out of his den after this month’s event, during which scouts were encouraged to ask questions of Marble.
“It’s been clear from the start of this controversy that my critics aren’t interested in any explanation that goes against their narrative,” Marble wrote in her commentary. “All they want is to politically damage those who stand firm on conservative principles. Any explanation I offer will be unacceptable to them, given how wedded they are to one narrative.”
She added that she doesn’t blame Ames, “since I believe there was an element of manipulation involved.”
“He has the same First Amendment rights the rest of us do,” she wrote in the commentary. “I understand how other parents or den leaders might not have appreciated one mom’s attempt to exploit the moment for political purposes, or to share the unauthorized tape nationally without the knowledge or permission of den leaders or other parents, given that the Scouts are a politically neutral organization.”
Ames’ mother, Lori Mayfield, said her son researched Marble and came up with the questions he would ask. She said the only coaching she gave him was to be respectful.
Ames was offered membership in other dens, the Cub Scouts have said, with a spokeswoman adding that “the Denver Area Council is evaluating this matter closely and will treat all parties with dignity and respect.”
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords last week said on Twitter that she would one day campaign for Ames.
“This is exactly the kind of courage we need in Congress,” Giffords said in a tweet Thursday. “Ames, call me in 14 years.”
The story of the controversy has been covered in news outlets across the nation, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time magazine.