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Steve Scalise insists he’s not a bigot

WASHINGTON — The No. 3 Republican in the House says he rejects all forms of bigotry after his admission last week that he addressed a white supremacist group in 2002.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana on Wednesday faced fresh questions about his speech at a 2002 Louisiana convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, which called itself EURO. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke founded the group, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group.

Scalise told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference that he is not a bigot. He said in a statement last week that speaking to the group was a mistake that he regretted.

House Speaker John Boehner defended Scalise, calling him a decent and honest individual who made a mistake.