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White House: No Comment on Hoffa's Remarks

8:21 PM, Sep 6, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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A major labor union leader, Teamsters president James Hoffa, is not backing down from comments he made shortly before President Barack Obama's Labor Day speech that called on union workers to “take these sons of bitches out,” referring to members of the Tea Party and Republicans. Hoffa tells Talking Points Memo that he has “no regrets” about his remarks yesterday in Detroit at the Obama event.

ABC’s Jake Tapper pressed White House press secretary Jay Carney on whether Hoffa’s remarks were appropriate, particularly given the fact that Obama himself urged the country to “make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds” after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords last January.

“Well, first of all, those weren’t comments by the President,” Carney replied. “I understand that there is a ritual in Washington that somebody says something and you link the associations, and then everybody who has an association with him or her somehow has to avow or disavow it. The president wasn’t there. I mean, he wasn’t on stage. He didn’t speak for another twenty minutes. He didn’t hear it. I really don’t have any comment beyond that, Jake.”

Watch the full video below, in which Tapper reminds Carney of a similar situation during the 2008 campaign involving John McCain:


Allahpundit at Hot Air highlights the glaring double standard when it comes to “inflammatory” political speech:

[My] favorite part of the Hoffa story is the left’s defense that he was talking specifically about voting when he called for taking those tea-party “sons of bitches” out. That’s super, but the whole point of the “new tone” demagoguery after Tucson was thatintent doesn’t matter. Go re-read Palin’s Facebook post from March 2010 showcasing the crosshairs map that the media would make famous 10 months later. Sample quote: “This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington.” Elections. Voting. And yet it didn’t matter to our liberal betters after Giffords was shot; the argument then was that the political “climate” in America had become so heated that it was irresponsible to use violent rhetoric or imagery even in service to a perfectly pedestrian nonviolent call for voter turnout. Remember? We were all going to clean up our language lest the scrambled brains of the Jared Loughners of the world derive some sort of incitement to murder from them where none was intended. Fast forward eight months and here’s the president of the Teamsters coloring his own turnout plea with a bunch of war metaphors and a call to start taking “sons of bitches” out, oblivious to the possibility that Loughners might exist on his side as well. How’s that post-Tucson rhetorical standard working out for you now, liberal friends? Is that bed you made for yourselves comfortable?

Rick Berman, the executive director of the pro-market Center for Union Facts, says in a statement that Hoffa’s union, the Teamsters, has had a violent history and the threat shouldn’t be taken lightly. Berman also points out that its unsurprising the White House has not condemned Hoffa for what he said. “It’s not surprising that President Obama and other Democratic Party officials would refuse to condemn Hoffa’s threats,” Berman said. “The Teamsters have donated $18.5 million to Democrats federally, and another $14.9 million at the state level.”

The Center for Union Facts has documented recent examples of Teamsters corruption, which includes a lengthy list of embezzlement charges, guilty pleas, and convictions for high-level Teamsters officials. 

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