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Arizona education official cries in apology over Web comments

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - Arizona's top education official broke down in tears on Wednesday as he apologized for his anonymous comments on Internet blogs that included comparing a birth control activist to Adolf Hitler and calling for an end to Spanish-language media in the United States.

John Huppenthal, a Republican who is scheduled to compete in an Aug. 26 primary and would if successful run to retain his post as superintendent of public instruction in a November general election, told reporters at a news conference in Phoenix that he would not resign.

"I’m here to renounce those blog comments," Huppenthal told reporters. "They’re not what is in my mind, they don't reflect the love that is in my heart.”

Huppenthal went on to say that he in particular felt bad about the harm his conduct did to his assistant.

"She's been with me for ..." Huppenthal said, before spending over 20 seconds in awkward silence on the verge of tears and then wiping at his eyes and walking out of the room, according to news footage of the press conference.

Huppenthal admitted to writing the anonymous blog posts in a statement his office released last week to the Arizona Republic newspaper, which posted the statement online.

The Arizona Republic reported that in one comment on a blog post, Huppenthal writing under the name Falcon9 said immigrants should assimilate.

"No spanish radio stations, no spanish billboards, no spanish tv stations, no spanish newspapers. This is America, speak English," he wrote, according to the Arizona Republic.

In another blog comment, Huppenthal compared birth control activist Margaret Sanger to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and wrote that "Sanger has fed 16 million African-Americans into the abortion mills".

Sanger, who died in 1966 before the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that found women had a constitutional right to an abortion, created two organizations that eventually merged and became Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Planned Parenthood is the country's largest provider of abortions, and is frequently criticized by abortion opponents.

In other blog posts, Huppenthal called food stamp recipients "lazy pigs" and said former President Franklin D. Roosevelt was mostly responsible for the Great Depression.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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