COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expressing regret after he threatened to punch out a reporter who asked about problems in the government's wild horse program at a campaign event.

His press office says Salazar regrets the exchange on Nov. 6 while on a Colorado tour in support of President Barack Obama's re-election.

A reporter for The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Dave Philipps, asked Salazar about the wild horse program and a horse slaughter proponent who has bought hundreds of the protected animals.

Salazar answered but after the interview accused Phillipps of setting him up and said he would "punch you out" if it happened again.

The Gazette says it held the audio in hopes of getting an interview with Salazar but horse advocates publicized the exchange first.

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