Even Democratic Party chairman Jason Willett struggles to defend gubernatorial candidate Mike Beebe's position on teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in the public schools.
Willett also fielded tough questions during his appearance before the Senior Democrats of Northwest Arkansas, including, "On the issue of intelligent design, is he (Beebe) pandering or just ignorant?"
Beebe's campaign released a statement this week saying that he believes in intelligent design, a belief that gives a role to a guiding creator in the development of life. However, Beebe said later that news accounts did not quote his statement fully, leaving out a sentence which said: "As a matter of law, the United States Supreme Court prohibits teaching intelligent design in the public schools at this time."
Responding to the question, Willett said Beebe was neither pandering nor ignorant, that his original statement on intelligent design "might have been a gaffe," and that Beebe has since explained his position in detail.
Willett also commented on the gay foster parent issue.
I'm the chairman of the state Democratic Party, and I have a problem with the adoption of children by gay parents, and I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," Willett said, adding that the state party has a plank in its platform that marriage is between a man and a woman.