“They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one.” - Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D - R.I.) 12/20/09 floor remarks
“Let’s Look At What Current Observers Are Saying As A Possible Early Indicator Of The Judgment History Will Inflict. Recently, The Editor Of The Manchester Journal Inquirer Editorial Page Wrote Of The Current G.O.P. Which He Called ‘This Once Great And Now Mostly Shameful Party,’ That ‘It Has Gone Crazy, Is More And More Dominated By The Lunatic Fringe And Has Poisoned Itself With Hate.’ He Concluded, ‘They No Longer Want To Govern. They Want To Emote.’ A Well Regarded Philadelphia Columnist Recently Wrote Of The Conservative Paranoia And Lunacy On The Republican Right.” - Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D - R.I.) 12/20/09 floor remarks
Following Senator Whitehouse’s floor remarks, I spoke with the Rhode Island Senator about the more inflammatory statements he made in the Senate chambers about supporters of GOP members who are looking to stall the health care bill. The audio and transcript are below.
TWT: Senator, you were just on the floor…correct?
SEN. WHITEHOUSE: Yup.
TWT: You just called supporters…or rather people who aren’t supporting the health care bill Aryan types, birthers…you were calling them racists, sir. Umm, can you explain that?
SEN. WHITEHOUSE: I didn’t say that you should listen more closely.
TWT: Alright. So, can you elaborate, so I can understand?
SEN. WHITEHOUSE: I’ll stand by the speech.
TWT: Okay, so what did you mean that they were birthers…that they were attacking the president?
SEN. WHITEHOUSE: There are birthers and they are attacking the president.
TWT: Okay, well what did you mean that they were Aryans? Are you saying that people who don’t support the bill are Aryan, sir?
SEN. WHITEHOUSE: No, I didn’t say that. Pay attention to the speech.
TWT: Well, were you alluding that they were racist, sir?
SEN. WHITEHOUSE: Pay attention to the speech. You’re putting an awful lot of words in my mouth that aren’t there. Calm down and pay attention to what I actually said.
TWT: Well, sir, you’re making a lot of implications there that the people who don’t happen to support health care happen to be racist.