Mayor Bob Coble's letter to Michelle Obama

Dear First Lady:

I want to apologize for the comment that was made this past Friday by a person from my City.   The comment was both hateful and inappropriate.  The comment has been condemned by numerous fair minded people of all races and political parties.  I want to personally express my deep disappointment that such a terrible statement would be associated with Columbia, South Carolina.

Columbia is a City of the New South.  We have a history of working across all racial and ethnic lines to seek common ground and purpose.  We take pride that our City has been held up by the noted author Richard Florida as an open and accepting City that is part of the global economy.  We have a track record of building a diverse community. In the 1960's, leaders came together to create the Greater Columbia Community Relations Council to guide us through integration.  In the 1990's, we filed a lawsuit to remove the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds.

We know that you, President Obama, and your family have been to South Carolina and Columbia many times.  Please know that we welcome you back anytime.  I apologize on behalf of Columbia for the comment that was made.  While the comment was made by one individual, we know that in this internet and twenty-four hour media cycle, impressions can be made quickly.  I wanted to state firmly and emphatically that we reject such a hateful and insensitive comment that does not reflect our City.

Very truly yours,

Mayor Bob Coble