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MS-Sen: Sen. Hyde-Smith 'joke' about voter suppression brings more scrutiny

en. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) arrives for a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee's Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill May 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Another video has forced Mississippi GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to answer some uncomfortable questions, just days after she was criticized for using a figure of speech about a "public hanging," according to NBC News.

In this latest video clip, which does not capture the entirety of the conversation, Hyde-Smith is seen apparently joking with supporters about making it more difficult for liberals to cast their votes.

"And then they remind me that there's a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who ... maybe we don't want to vote," Hyde-Smith is heard saying as the video begins. "Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that's a great idea."

 The video was recorded on Nov. 3 at a campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, and posted by Lamar Smith Jr. of the Bayou Brief. Smith also originally posted the video showing Hyde-Smith's "public hanging" remark.

Hyde-Smith's campaign responds

Melissa Scallan, a spokeswoman for Hyde-Smith's campaign, issued the following statement:

"Obviously Sen. Hyde-Smith was making a joke and clearly the video was selectively edited. Now the liberal media wants to talk about anything other than [Democratic candidate] Mike Espy's record of corruption and taking $750,000 - and lying about it - from an African dictator now charged with war crimes, including murder, rape and torture."

Scallan is referring to money paid to Espy in 2011 for lobbying on behalf of the government of then-Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo.

"For a state like Mississippi, where voting rights were obtained through sweat and blood, everyone should appreciate that this is not a laughing matter," Espy spokesman Danny Blanton said, according to CNN. "Mississippians deserve a senator who represents our best qualities, not a walking stereotype who embarrasses our state."

Back-to-back controversies

Hyde-Smith was in the process of moving past a controversy over saying “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row," in response to flattering remarks from a supporter.

Some interpreted that remark as carrying negative racial connotations, which Hyde-Smith denies. Still, a group of Mississippi activists plans to protest and call for Hyde-Smith's resignation.

Hyde-Smith is currently the polling favorite over Mike Espy leading up to a Nov. 27 runoff election.


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