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Arizona Schools Chief Under Fire for Anonymous Blog Comments

By Lesli A. Maxwell

John Huppenthal, the Republican superintendent of schools in Arizona, has admitted to anonymously posting inflammatory comments on blogs, making that admission after a Democratic political blogger outed the schools chief last week.

The schools chief, well-known for his conservative stance on many issues, issued his apology exclusively to The Arizona Republic, which reported on it Thursday.

According to the newspaper, Huppenthal posted anonymously on an array of political blogs in recent years under several different screen names, including the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. 

Among some of his more inflammatory posts was one in which he referred to welfare recipients as "lazy pigs." He suggested that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was responsible for feeding "16 million African-Americans into the abortion mills." And he pinned blame on Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the Great Depression and the rise of Adolph Hitler. Huppenthal also posted frequently on education issues, at times defending his own policies and positions as schools chief.

According to Stephen Lemon in the Phoenix New Times, Huppenthal, posting as Falcon 9 (another of his widely-used monikers), wrote that Mexican-American studies courses taught in Tucson's public schools "use the exact same technique that Hitler used in his rise to power. Take an historical example of injustice, cast it in racial terms and fan the flames of resentment." The schools chief has been a constant critic of the ethnic studies program in Tucson.

Huppenthal, who was elected to be Arizona's schools chief in 2010, is running for re-election this fall.

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