Rancher Bundy talks civil rights icons, racism on CNN - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Rancher Bundy talks civil rights icons, racism on CNN

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Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy joined CNN's 'New Day' for an interview Friday to respond to multiple controversies. (Source: CNN) Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy joined CNN's 'New Day' for an interview Friday to respond to multiple controversies. (Source: CNN)

BUNKERVILLE, NV (RNN/CNN) - Rancher Cliven Bundy's comments ranged from incoherent to absurd in an interview Friday. He also brought a dead calf.

In one instance, he declared the federal government has no rights in a "sovereign state." He next stated he would take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court - a part of the federal government. 

Bundy received nationwide attention for his standoff with the Bureau of Land Management when he said he had the right to use federal land for grazing his herd. New Day's Chris Cuomo pointed out it was both state and federal law that recognized the land's ownership, and other cattle ranchers had paid their fee for use of it.

"I had a legitimate business here in Clark County, Nevada, following all of the Nevada state laws and trying to produce for you people," Bundy said. "And now you're hollering about I'm not equal and not keeping up with the rest of the ranchers. The rest of the ranchers are tired of this also."

He said the dead animal he displayed was evidence of how he was unable to care for his cattle because of the BLM's involvement. The interviewer countered Bundy would have been able to see to his herd had he followed the law.

The rancher also brought up Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

Their names came in response to Cuomo asking him about prior statements when he called black people "Negroes" and wondered aloud if they would be better off still enslaved.

"Reverend Martin Luther King wanted us to get over this kind of stuff," he said. "I said yesterday it was time for a discussion about this. We need to get over this. I don't care what your race is - we need to get over this prejudice. Those words are not offensive.

"They're not offensive to me. You could say them to me and I wouldn't be offended."

He admitted there was a chance he had said something wrong.

"Maybe I sinned, and maybe I need to ask forgiveness," Bundy said. "Maybe I don't know what I actually said."

There was a "but" following that statement, however. He then attempted to liken freedom of speech rights - also protected by the federal government - with being free to say what you want without others being free to respond.

"When you talk about prejudice, we're talking about not being able to exercise what we think and our feelings," he said. "We don't have freedom to say what we want. If I say 'Negro' or 'black boy' or 'slave,' I'm not - if those people can't take those kind of words and not be offended, then Martin Luther King hasn't done his job yet."

Armed officials ordered Bundy to remove the cattle from the land April 8, but the response by armed civilian militia convinced the BLM to stand down. The bureau has said it was not finished with the case.

Several elected officials, including Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY; as well as conservative media pundits rushed to support Bundy's cause. However, many backed off when he made the racist comments reported in the New York Times.

Copyright 2014 Raycom News Network. CNN contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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