So if someone tells me a racist joke and I retell it, then I’m in the clear, right?

That seems to be what Leslie Rutledge and her partisan mouthpiece, Jason Tolbert, are arguing in response to the release of a racist email Rutledge sent while working as a DHS lawyer in 2007.

“This is just another desperate attempt by leftist bloggers to attempt to misattribute someone else’s words to me. As was obvious from reading the email, I simply forwarded without any comment something written by Judith (Gardner). Any questions about the content of the email should be directed to the author. These same liberal bloggers have attempted to paint me as, among other things, secretly pro-choice, not eligible to vote in Arkansas and now a racist. I would expect these kinds of silly attacks to continue from the Democrats desperate to hold onto this seat,” said Rutledge in statement to The Tolbert Report. “In spite of these baseless attacks, I remain focused on my message of protecting Arkansans from those who seek to do them harm.” 

Unless there’s additional context, which Rutledge hasn’t provided to the Times and doesn’t provide above, Rutledge and Tolbert aren’t going to find that this line of thinking gets any traction. 

Competent adults know that you don’t pass along racist emails or jokes without commentary. 

p.s. Tolbert writes “this is yet another example of an email forward that is being attributed to Rutledge instead of the actual writer.” Well, no, this is different. Remember, the previous email regarding abortion was titled “Shame on You.” She was expressing her disapproval of the content she copy-and-pasted. This email was titled “True story and email from a friend of mine…she works downtown with battered women, etc.” That certainly doesn’t sound like disapproval. It sounds like she was forwarding a racist email.