Chattanooga Mayoral Candidate Tim Kelly apologized Thursday after making a joke Wednesday on Facebook about the death of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
On a citizen's public Facebook post about Limbaugh's death, Kelly commented with a meme depicting Mark Twain with a misattributed quote reading "I have never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."
When asked, Kelly said Thursday that sharing that meme on the day of Limbaugh's death was "insensitive."
"I recently shared a Mark Twain quote in a social media thread which I quickly deleted. Weighing in on that day was insensitive, and I should not have done it," Kelly said in an emailed statement to the Times Free Press. "I believe the best way to handle a mistake is to first own up to it and then do better in the future. Our city and country would be a better place if more people took responsibility, and committed to doing better in the future. As your next mayor, I'm committed to bringing Chattanooga together."
The meme, which was later deleted by Kelly, is actually a misquote of Clarence Darrow, an attorney who defended John Scopes in Tennessee's notorious State of Tennessee v. Scopes trial, also known as the "Scopes Monkey Trial." Darrow wrote in his biography "I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction."
Limbaugh, a talk show host and political commentator and kingmaker of three decades, died of lung cancer Wednesday at 70. He was praised as a lion of the conservative movement and a broadcasting genius but criticized by people who believe his commentary was rife with racism, sexism and homophobia.