METAIRIE, La. -- Republican presidential candidate David Duke says he is "proud" of his years as a Ku Klux Klan leader and still believes in "genetic differences" based on race.
Duke also said that blacks and other minorities now have the upper hand in America, and that he sees "minority problems as a threat" to the white culture he loves.
"Obviously the scale is tipped over in their favor, and what happens is the rights of the majority come down," he said in an interview at his suburban New Orleans campaign office.
He said his philosophy remains unchanged from his years as a grand wizard in the Klan in Louisiana. "Fundamentally, yes, I haven't changed," Duke said.
Duke, styling himself as a "defender of Western civilization," said he is the only politician in America who will fight to help whites regain power.
"I think blacks can live in it . . . but our civilization is still overwhelmingly European and overwhelmingly Christian," he said. "I mean, that's just the honest truth."
Analysts who have followed Duke said these statements represent the first time in two years that Duke has publicly expressed the radical positions that once characterized his turbulent career.
"This is stunning," said Tim Wise, assistant director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism. "This is the first time he has said anything so openly Nazi-ish since 1989."
Duke, 41, has been an avowed white supremacist and anti-Semite for virtually all of his adult life. His latest remarks further show that Duke wants to lead a "fascist movement dressed in the clothes of Americanism," said Leonard Zeskind of Kansas City, research director at the Center for Democratic Renewal.
A spokesman for Duke said yesterday that the campaign had no additional comment beyond his interview.
Since his 1989 election to the Louisiana House, Duke consistently has moderated his public comments.
In his unsuccessful run for Louisiana governor last year, Duke said that he was intolerant in his early years but has since changed his opinion regarding blacks and other minorities.
Duke said he is "proud" of his Klan years and his "substantial" accomplishments, such as influencing young people to be "more mainstream." He left the Klan in 1980.