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Nevada rancher defends remarks, loses supporters

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LAS VEGAS — A Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for standing up to the government in a fight over grazing rights lost some of his staunch defenders after wondering aloud whether blacks might have had it better under slavery.

Republican politicians from around the country who have rallied to Cliven Bundy’s defense in recent weeks denounced the comments and distanced themselves from the rancher, including potential 2016 presidential contender U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada. Democrats were quick to pounce on the comments and label Bundy a racist.

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