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Friday, June 27, 2008

Democratic Congressman, Bill Delahunt's al-Qaeda Remark Sparks Conservative Ire

A top aide to Dick Cheney was speaking at a House hearing on interrogation and declined to answer a question on waterboarding saying "al Qaeda may watch C-SPAN." Rep. Bill Delahunt (D-Mass) replied "I'm glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington."

The aide, David Addington replied, "Yeah, I'm sure you're pleased."

"Right," Delahunt responded. "Well, I'm sure they are watching, and I'm glad they finally have the chance to see you, Mr. Addington."

"Yeah, I'm sure you're pleased," Addington shot back.

"Given your penchant for being unobtrusive," Delahunt said of Addington's ability to stay behind the scenes.

The remarks are in the video 1 minute 16 second video above and has sparked quite a bit of anger from conservative websites as well as Republican politicians and spokespeople.

Immediately after the exchange, the spokeswoman for VP Dick Cheney, Lea Anne McBride, stated that the Congressman's words were "inappropriate".

Republican Representative, Steve King, issued a statement to which it said:

"With Rep. Bill Delahunt's remarks inciting al Qaeda to violence, David Addington and his family will need protection until the war on terror is over. I wonder if Bill Delahunt is ready to guard Mr. Addington's home and family."

Delahunt denies that he was implying anything untoward and claims that he said "I," not "they," during the testimony.

C-Span does air these hearings live and many caught the exchange on video, which was of course uploaded to YouTube and you can watch the video for yourself to see if Delahunt says "I" or "They".

Delahunt went on to tell Fox News, "I'm sure that he understood. I would be surprised if he had any other interpretation other than the one that I suggested I intended. And if he believes in any way I wish him ill, I assure him that's not the case and I'd be happy to have another conversation with him."

That comment has set off a firestorm on the right side of the blogosphere, with RedState entitling their piece with, "Damn us all and our party if we let this go" and going on to publish Delahunt email address as well as his phone numbers, stating, "If you do not call your Congressman today and demand the House of Representatives, at the very *least*, censure Congressman Delahunt, well damn us all. We have no right to carry on our fight."

The outrage has just begun in the conservative blogosphere and RedState's comments are representative of what is being seen from them.

I have listened to the video a few times now and Delahunt did say they, not I, despite his recollection to the contrary, so did he mean what seemed to be implied or as his chief of staff, Mark Forest, claims, were his words just not as "artful" as they could have been?

Watch the video, body language and tone are just as important as the words and imagine the outrage on the left if this had been a Republican Congressman saying this to a Democratic aide or politician.

If you believe as RedState does when they state:

Mr. Addington volunteered for public service, not a death sentence with Congressional encouragement. Mr. Delahunt is both a vile liar and a cowardly lion willing to roar down at Mr. Addington while encouraging terrorists to do his dirty work in a war he has been ineffective at stopping.

The left, while attacking Charlie Black for stating the obvious -- that a terrorist incident helps the GOP politically because they are seen as more competent in the national security arena -- is defending this degradation of congressional discourse and vile swipe at Mr. Addington.

This discourse — a member of Congress glad Al Qaeda has a face it can pursue — is beneath the dignity of the Congress and beneath the dignity of civil discourse in this country.

Here is the contact information they provide.

The number is 202-224-3121 and Congressman Delahunt's email address is

If Delahunt thought he was being "cute", he wasn't.