****Updated with video link and more transcript
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) today took shots at those who are not supporting the health care legislation. During a floor speech, he excoriated Senate GOP members for holding up the pending health care bill and accused their supporters of being birthers and fanatics in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups. He started off by citing an editorial from the Manchester Journal Inquirer, which used the insult “lunatic fringe.”:
(WATCH THE VIDEO HERE about 116:06 in. 2:55pm EST)
“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.”
After explaining why absent GOP members who did not vote for the Department of Defense spending bill was tantamount to a “no” vote, he went on to say that Republicans and their supporters just want to “break” the momentum of President Obama.:
“Voting ‘no’ and hiding from the vote are the same result. Those of us on the floor see it. It was clear the three of them who did not cast their yes votes until all 60 Senate votes had been tallied and it was clear that the result was a foregone conclusion. And why? Why all this discord and discourtesy, all this unprecedented destructive action? All to break the momentum of our new young president.
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.”
I approached (AUDIO) Senator Whitehouse following his speech on the floor, and his responses to my questions were puzzling, to say the least. Mr. Whitehouse said he stood by his speech, but would not admit that he was accusing anyone who was against the health care bill as racist. He did reiterate that birthers are part of the group that is against the bill and are attacking president However, when I asked the Senator from Rhode Island what he meant by describing those who do not support the bill as “aryan,” he responded “No, I didn’t say that….again, pay attention to the speech.”
According to the transcript above, Mr. Whitehouse did say what he seems to be denying. Perhaps he should pay more attention to what he says on the floor.