- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 18, 2013

John Podesta, the former White House aide to President Clinton who was just brought on board the Obama administration to save executive face from falling popularity poll numbers, apologized Wednesday for his reference to the Republican Party as a cult.

In a mid-morning tweet, Mr. Podesta wrote: “In an old interview, my snark got in front of my judgment. I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected.”

His comment?

Mr. Podesta was arguing that the White House needed to get more aggressive in its push for policy changes because of the stubbornness of the Republican Party, The Hill reported. And he said, in a Politico interview: “They need to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.”

Mr. Boehner’s spokesman immediately issues a rebuke.

“For those who’ve forgotten, a Democratic member of Congress was murdered in Jonestown and a current one, Rep. Jackie Speier, was shot five times during the same incident,” said Brendan Buck, The Hill reported. “If this is the attitude of the new White House, it’s hard to see how the president gets anything done again.”

More than 900 died at the Jonestown incident in 1978 from drinking a mix of cyanide and other drugs with a flavored liquid. The leader of the Peoples Temple cult, Jim Jones, ordered the mass suicides after a congressional delegation tried to intervene and rescue those in the colony.

Mr. Podesta was recently named a special adviser to Mr. Obama, tasked with helping the administration improve its battered image from Obamacare and from what’s been perceived by polling members of the public as an ingrained dishonesty in the White House.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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