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Gramps' faux pas


Call News Hits the PC police, but we weren’t the only ones dismayed by the ethnic crack Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara made at last week’s press conference to announce he won’t seek re-election.

When Big Ed introduced granddaughter Marissa McNamara — a Chinese orphan adopted by his daughter, Colleen — a collective moan (and some nervous chuckling) emanated from the crowd of about 200 well-wishers gathered at the Wayne County Building to slobber good-byes on the lame-duck exec.

“If she wants to,” joked Gramps, “I’ll have her eyes straightened.”

When the comment was not well received, McNamara said, “Mike said I can say things like that now.” He was referring to Wayne County Prosecutor Mike Duggan, a longtime protégé. Oh, the joy of leaving public office, eh, Ed. Now you can make all the ethnic jokes you want — publicly.

But maybe News Hits is being too hard on the old fellow. After all, McNamara is clearly crazy about his 4-year-old granddaughter, whom he hugged and kissed as he told News Hits how the adorable child was abandoned by her parents in China when she was 8 days old. “She has changed my life,” said the beaming grandfather.

Perhaps when Marissa is old enough, she can set grandpa straight about hurtful jokes. Either that, or she can entertain clan gatherings with jokes like, “Did you hear the one about the drunken Irishman …”

P.S. Did anyone besides News Hits wonder about the timing of McNamara’s announcement, coming two days before publication of a fine Detroit News investigation into the county exec’s alleged mishandling of Metro Airport? Could it be ol’ Ed deliberately held his bash before all that bad news could rain on his exit parade?

Which reminds us: Did ya hear the one about the beleaguered political boss …

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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