Yahoo! fires Washington bureau chief for saying Republicans are ‘happy to have a party with black people drowning’

Yahoo! News has fired its Washington bureau chief, David Chalian, after he was caught on an open microphone during a webcast of the Republican National Convention Tuesday saying Mitt Romney and the GOP “are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”

Chalian’s remark was an apparent reference to Republicans’ decision to proceed with their convention in Tampa, as Isaac hits New Orleans.

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In a statement, Yahoo! said “David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended.”

Chalian is the former political director of ABC News, which partnered with Yahoo! on the webcast.

PBS NewsHour correspondent Gwen Ifill, who is black, tweeted her support of Chalian Wednesday, saying “one mistake does not change” her opinion that Chalian “is God’s gift to political journalism.”

The website NewsBusters, whose stated mission is “exposing and combating liberal media bias” was the first to report Chalian’s remark.