Salazar apologizes to reporter he threatened to punch

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DENVER — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar apologized Wednesday to Dave Philipps, the reporter he threatened to punch on Election Day as the former Colorado senator campaigned on President Barack Obama’s behalf in Colorado Springs.

Philipps, an investigative reporter at the Colorado Springs Gazette and a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist, had asked Salazar a question about the wild horse program overseen by the Interior Department.

Specifically, Philipps asked Salazar about Tom Davis, a Colorado horse slaughter proponent who has bought hundreds of wild horses gathered from public lands by the Bureau of Land Management.

Davis, who lives near Salazar’s home in the San Luis Valley, is currently under investigation.

The question clearly rattled the normally mild-mannered Salazar.

“Don’t you ever … You know what, you do that again… I’ll punch you out,” Salazar reportedly told Philipps before ending the interview and walking off.

On Wednesday, roughly a day after news of the exchange broke, Salazar wrote Philipps a letter apologizing.

“As I said to you by phone today, I apologize and regret the statement I made to you in Fountain,” Salazar wrote in a letter. “I also will be happy to speak with you officially on the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program.”

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