Yesterday, Congressman Boehner tried to weasel out of things - by spinning and misleading, of course. Here's what can be found in The Politico's Crypt (h/t to Think Progress) where they got a comment from Kevin Smith, Boehner's Communications Director:
But we need to take a look at exactly what Wolf Blitzer asked the Congressman. Here it is again:
Wolf asked about the money spent in Iraq, and that’s what Mr. Boehner was referring to when he said our troops’ efforts are critical for the safety and security of our country. To attempt to put a dollar figure on what we are doing in Iraq does a disservice to the work our troops are doing to make our children and theirs safer.
Smith added: There isn’t a Member of Congress who appreciates the sacrifices of our troops more than Mr. Boehner. In fact, the reason he visited Iraq was to thank our troops for their service on behalf of our country and take a firsthand look at the progress on the ground that Democrats are so desperate to ignore. He had lunch with troops from Ohio today. Mr. Boehner is doing everything he can to ensure our troops come home after victory, not defeat, and General Petraeus has outlined a responsible strategy to do just that.
Mr. Leader, here is the question. How much longer will U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $2 billion a week or $3 billion a week as some now are suggesting the cost is going to endure, the loss and blood the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment, is going to require?" [emphasis added]Blitzer, at the very least, was not asking about just the money spent, but also about the number of American servicemen killed or wounded. The fact that Boehner is now trying to ignore that part of the question qualifies as a major spin.
So far there's been little coverage from the MSM (even CNN). At least it's not a botched joke from John Kerry - now that would have been news! Karen Tumulty at Time, after quoting Senator John McCain excusing Boehner's comment as a "he misspoke" moment, says:
Meanwhile, over at Think Progress, they have Boehner's response to the criticism he is getting, as well as the full question he was asked. Looking at the transcript, it appears this is one where it's going to be hard to take a mulligan.For those who don't play golf, a "mulligan" is a "do-over."
Some other reactions.
DNC Chair Howard Dean:
House Republican Leader John Boehner’s comments yesterday are deplorable and he should apologize immediately. Our brave men and women who have given their lives in service to our country and their families have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to say anything less is insulting to their memories and service. Republicans stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that their Iraq policy is a failure, our troops are mired in a civil war and we’re not making the necessary political progress on the ground. Bohener’s comments show how truly out of touch the Republicans are. The loss of a son or daughter is never a small price to pay, especially for a policy which was initiated by Republicans who misled the nation about why we are there. The war in Iraq must end. We need to bring our troops home.Senator John Kerry:
We already have a reaction from Boehner's office. No apology is necessary because he's trying the best he can to spin his way out from under his reprehensible statement. Why take responsibility (and apologise) when you can just spin it away? That's how things work for Washington DC Republicans.
What a stunningly cavalier statement about the lives of the young men and women who serve our country.
Whether you support or oppose the Bush escalation, no American should ever for even a moment think the cost of war is small.
A single life is a large price to pay for any endeavor. Sometimes, in our national interest, we choose to pay that awful price, but we must always make sure that the policy is worthy of it.
Visit our wounded warriors at Walter Reed hospital and ask whether the price they paid was small. Talk to the mothers, fathers, husbands and wives of those who have been killed and ask them to measure the price of war. Young lives stopped short, children who won't have a mother or father there as they grow up, when they graduate, when they get married -- that loss is many things, but it is not small.
Where is Representative Boehner's apology? And where is an Iraq policy equal to our soldiers' tremedous sacrifice?
Any other reactions from any other Democrats?
Perhaps they should grow a spine and speak up.