August 27th, 2013
11:00 AM ET

Obama Rodeo Clown Sets the Record Straight

The rodeo clown who sparked outrage after he wore a President Obama mask speaks out.

Tuffy Gessling says his act was just a joke but the event ignited a firestorm and now he's receiving death threats.

Gessling tells CNN affiliate KCTV, “I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did it to be funny. I did it to be a joke.”

But those offended by the so-called joke call it racist.

“Gessling's bit got him banned from the Missouri State Fair for life,” reports CNN's Athena Jones.

“I've had someone threaten to run me over. One of them wanted to burn the house down,” Gesling says.

“This clown bit has been around for generations, and I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years, when we've done it with Bush, and Clinton and Ronald Reagan.”

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh agrees, coming to his defense on the “The Rush Limbaugh Show” saying, “This is infantile. This is childish. This is worse than political correctness.”

President Obama hasn't commented but White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest says, “I can tell you as a native Missourian, it's certainly not one of the finer moments for our state.”

Now that the dust has settled over his rodeo routine, Gessling hopes to set the record straight.

“I never did anything because of anybody's race. I don't care what color somebody is—if they’re blue, white, green, polka-dotted, striped. It doesn't bother me one bit.”

Gessling is set to appear at another rodeo coming up in Missouri.

He says, “If President Obama turns out, I'd be honored to shake his hand.”

Posted by
Filed under: News • Videos
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. William

    Presidential masks have been around for decades. But hey, that's racist! Really? It must be nice to take something that a race actually struggled with for all those years, and turn it into a free pass to entitlement.

    If you don't want that particular man (not race) to be at risk of mocking, don't ask him to become president. This is just weak and blatantly transparent. Any "crusty old white guy" would be lampooned with sincere menace and no one would bat an eyelash, even if it was Abe Lincoln. Abe never felt oppression...oh wait.

    August 28, 2013 at 3:54 am | Reply
  2. gwats1957

    As a Black man who voted twice for this President, I forgive your insensitive, thoughtless act. After all, I've always found living stupidly quite painful, as you are finding out right now. Sucks to be you, sir.

    August 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  3. Unclesamhain

    Get a life.

    August 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  4. Nancy

    If it was done with other Presidents and it wasn't a problem ......why is it now? I'm getting so tired of this stuff.

    August 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  5. marietta amicarelli

    get over it he is in the entertainment, he didn't do anything he hasn't done for years. what are we doing no one can do anything with out some one yelling race inproper. get back to living and cool down.

    August 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.