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Despite hell comment, Lowery to be at president’s side on election night

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The Rev. Joseph LoweryDespite the controversy stirred last week by Rev. Joseph Lowery, the civil rights icon will reportedly be at the side of the president and first lady as election returns trickle in Tuesday night.

Lowery drew international headlines last week for comments he made at a middle Georgia rally in which he said “all white folks were going to hell.” The reaction was so furious that most observers outside the civil rights community believed the episode had rendered him persona non grata.

But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday morning that Lowery, who was among the president’s earliest supporters in the state and delivered the benediction at his 2009 inauguration, would be at the Obama campaign’s election night party in Chicago. A campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a request for confirmation by Tipsheet, however.

Lowery has since clarified that his remarks were intended as a joke–one, he said, he’s told a “million” times previously–even as the small-town journalist who first reported them denies that characterization.

Conservatives were outraged, some prominent Republican campaigners even saying they would not consider Lowery an unacceptable choice to deliver the benediction should the president win a second term.

But the president, or those regulating who enters his orbit, was apparently unmoved.

- James Richardson