A BIG TENT…. And Republicans wonder why they struggle with minority communities.

[Kim] Hendren explained, “I don’t use a teleprompter and occasionally I put my foot in my month.” At the meeting, Hendren addressed the comments that Sen. Schumer made shortly before last week’s meeting. Sen. Schumer, appearing on MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow Show, said “The hard right, which still believes that when the Federal Government moves, we chop off its hands, still believes in the traditional values kind of arguments, in strong foreign policy, all that is over.”

Hendren told me, “At the meeting I was attempting to explain that unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ I made the mistake of referring to Sen. Schumer as ‘that Jew’ and I should not have put it that way as this took away from what I was trying to say.”

Hendren is a member of the Arkansas State Senate, and is currently a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

If he wins next year, Hendren will be able to tell “that Jew” all about the “traditional values” he saw on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

Update: Hendred told the AP today, “When I referred to him as Jewish, it wasn’t because I don’t like Jewish people… I shouldn’t have gotten into this Jewish business because it distracts from the issue.”

Yeah, that’s much better. Good thing Hendren clarified matters.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.