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Oklahoma lawmaker hangs picture switch on joke, beliefs

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: March 17, 2010 at 8:07 am •  Published: March 17, 2010
/articleid/3447082/1/pictures/884563">Photo - A portrait of President Barack Obama hangs on a wall in 2009 in the state House chamber. photo BY JIM BECKEL, OKLAHOMAN archive
A portrait of President Barack Obama hangs on a wall in 2009 in the state House chamber. photo BY JIM BECKEL, OKLAHOMAN archive
The portrait had been swapped with Henry’s portrait for several days earlier this session, he said, and he has asked that Benge investigate.

Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, the designated Democratic leader for the 2011 session, also said Moore should apologize from the House floor and that Benge should make available security camera footage that should show any portrait swapping.

"This type of childish behavior has no place in the Oklahoma House of Representatives,” Inman said. "It’s our position that Rep. Moore needs to apologize from the same location in which his actions occurred.”

Benge said he feels the incident is over.

"I have stated this is a matter we will handle internally, and it has been handled,” he said. "There has been no conspiracy or criminal activity committed. The pictures have been permanently affixed to the House chamber walls and I have made it abundantly clear that members are not to touch any photos or art in the chamber.”

Shelton said Thursday a House Republican had moved Obama’s portrait because it appeared in the background when the lawmaker spoke during Internet broadcasts of House sessions. This is the first year action in the House chamber is being shown on the Internet.

Moore said he apologized to Shelton on Thursday after the health care measure, House Joint Resolution 1054, passed.

"I sat down with him and talked to him and said, ‘Hey, I did not mean for that to be ugly by any stretch,’” Moore said.

Shelton said, "It was never about me. It’s about that office of the president.”

Portraits secured
After the incident House Speaker Chris Benge ordered that each portrait be secured to the back wall in the House chamber. They have been bolted to the wall.


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