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Rick Perry demands apology over cartoon 'mocking' Texas plant explosion

California's Sacramento Bee newspaper ran an editorial cartoon that Perry said 'mocks' victims of the explosion.

Rick Perry Sac Bee Enlarge
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is angry over a Sacramento Bee cartoon he says 'mocks' victims of the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion. (Ronald Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)

Texas Governor Rick Perry is furious over a newspaper cartoon that he says 'mocks' a fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people last week.

California's Sacramento Bee newspaper ran the cartoon which depicts Perry boasting about business booming in Texas in front of a banner reading "Low Tax!" and "`Low Regs!"

The next panel shows an explosion engulfing the area with thick black smoke and "Boom!" written in red.

The cartoon is a play on Perry's oft-repeated mantra that low regulations and low taxes is the source of Texas' business success.

The West, Texas plant, outside of Waco, reportedly had not been inspected since 2006. Ten of the victims killed were first responders

In a letter to the Bee's editor, Perry said it "was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon."

"While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won't stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans," Perry wrote. "Additionally, publishing this on the very day our state and nation paused to honor and mourn those who died only compounds the pain and suffering of the many Texans who lost family and friends in this disaster."

Cartoonist Jack Ohman defended his work, saying "I think that when you have a politician traveling across the country selling a state with low regulatory capacity, that politician also has to be accountable for what happens when that lack of regulation proves to be fatal.

"That's exponentially more offensive to me."

Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for Ohman to be fired.

"I think it's reprehensible for a member of the media to sit in safety and mock such a profound tragedy regardless of any 'point' he is trying to make," Dewhurst said.