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Orrin Hatch: 'Dumbass' comment on Obamacare was a 'poorly worded joke'

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Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called Obamacare supporters the "stupidest, dumbass people I've ever met" at a recent American Enterprise Institute event. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Sen. Orrin Hatch on Friday said he made a "poorly worded joke" when he described Obamacare supporters as "the stupidest, dumbass people I've ever met."

The Utah Republican's office issued a tweet Friday alongside the message: "Senator Hatch has just issued an apology an off-color joke he made yesterday about supporters of the Affordable Care Act," referring to the formal name for Obamacare.

Hatch's didn't explicitly apologize for the comment, but he said it was a "poorly worded joke about Obamacare supporters — a joke that was not reflective of my actual feelings toward my friends on the other side." He pointed to his legislative record as a better reflection of his "commitment to bipartisanship and civility much more than my flippant, off-the-cuff comment."

Hatch had criticized Obamacare supporters while speaking at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, after boasting about the Republican-backed tax law, which beginning in 2019 will repeal the penalty for going uninsured under Obamacare.

“[We] finally did away with the individual mandate tax that was established under that wonderful bill called Obamacare," Hatch said. "Now, if you didn't catch on, I was being very sarcastic. That was the stupidest, dumbass bill that I've ever seen."

"Some of you may have loved it,” he continued. “If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumbass people I've ever met. There are a lot of them up there on Capitol Hill from time to time."

A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll recently found that Obamacare has a 54 percent favorability among the public, its highest rate on record.