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OC Lawmaker Defends Apology Over ‘Tony Soprano’ Remark

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SANTA ANA (CBS) — A state assemblyman from Orange County isn’t backing down on Monday from “shocking” comments that have outraged a national Italian-American group.

Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) offered his sarcasm-laced apology “to all Italians who are not members of the Mafia and engaged in insurance scams” over his opposition to what he called a “Tony Soprano” insurance deal in the state Legislature.

In an exchange telecast on the California Channel and posted on Youtube, the comments nearly brought Wagner to blows with Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) over the alleged slur.

At around the 5:15 mark, the video shows other Assembly members physically separating the two on the floor of the Assembly last Wednesday.

The leader of the western branch of the National Italian-American Foundation, Jeffrey M. Carpaccio, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Orange County Republican’s comments were “shocking” and “reinforced a negative generalization about an entire community.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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