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Rodeo Clown 'Would Be Honored' To Shake Obama's Hand

"I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke," says Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown behind a skit at the Missouri State Fair earlier this month that sparked outrage when a masked "President Obama" was chased by a bull that Gessling said was "gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!"

That, and reports of another clown playing with the lips of the Obama mask, led some in the crowd to compare the act to a "Klan rally" and prompted politicians from both major parties to condemn the performance.

In his first on-camera TV interview, Gessling tells Kansas City's KCTV that he's had death threats since the incident and the publicity that followed. But he believes the skit was no different than others before. "I didn't think anything more of it than what we've done 15 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago, when we've done it with Bush, Clinton and Ronald Reagan," Gessling tells the station.

Of the uproar, Gessling says: "Look at the country as a whole, there is a lot more to be mad at than a rodeo clown at a rodeo trying to make somebody laugh."

According to KCTV, "Gessling is inviting politicians to come out," to rodeos where he performs in the future, to "watch and grill him with any questions they have."

"If President Obama turns out, I would be honored to shake his hand," Gessling said.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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