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McConnell defends photograph

Sep 16, 2010 6:28:00 AM - thestate.com

Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says a picture circulating on the Internet of him dressed in a Civil War-era military uniform alongside two African-Americans outfitted in period costumes was an innocent moment among friends — nothing more.

The picture, taken during a Republican women’s conference in Charleston last week, however, has managed to capture national media attention. Some think the image callously evokes the state’s slave-holding past.

McConnell, a Charleston Republican, is perhaps the most powerful lawmaker in the state, also chairing the pivotal Senate Judiciary Committee.

McConnell also is widely known in the state as an avid Civil War enthusiast and re-enactor. His passionate advocacy for restoring the Confederate Hunley submarine is legendary and controversial.