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Oklahoma Congressman suggests shooting Senators, then apologizes

By SEAN MURPHY
February 24, 2012

Rep. John Sullivan: Just shoot 'em

An Oklahoma congressman apologized on Friday for suggesting that “killing a couple” of U.S. senators may be the only way to get a budget passed through Congress.

U.S. Rep. John Sullivan made the comments Wednesday during a town hall meeting in Bixby. When asked about federal spending, the Tulsa Republican expressed his frustration with the Senate for its failure to approve a budget.

“I’d love to get them to vote for it,” Sullivan said at the event. “Boy, I’d love that, you know. But other than me going over there with a gun and pointing it to their head and maybe killing a couple of `em, I don’t think they’re going to listen unless they get beat.”

Sullivan’s comments were first posted on the political blog Talking Points Memo.

Sullivan spokesman Vaughn Jennings said Friday that the congressman was speaking off the cuff during the town hall meeting and sincerely apologized for his remarks. Jennings added that Sullivan also spoke during the event about the importance of civility in Washington.

“The congressman offers his sincere apologies to anyone he offended and for using a poor choice of words to make his point — which was that Senate Democrats are refusing to pass a budget or even vote on the 28 House-passed jobs bills,” Jennings said in a statement. “Millions of Americans are hurting — the Congressman feels their pain, and does not want his comments to deflect attention away from the serious issues our country faces today, and he certainly does not condone any form of violence as a means to fix what is broken in Washington.”

Jennings said the congressman has not been contacted by law enforcement about his remarks.

Sullivan’s comments drew criticism from U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., a longtime proponent of stricter gun laws whose husband was killed and her son severely injured during a mass shooting on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993.

“Mr. Sullivan’s remarks show a staggering insensitivity to the families of 30-plus Americans that are killed by gunfire every single day,” McCarthy said in a statement. “This kind of rhetoric helps illustrate just how hard it is to pass sensible laws to reduce gun violence in the Republican-controlled House.”

The vice chairman of the Tulsa Democratic Party said Sullivan’s comment “exceeds the limits of poor taste by miles,” particularly in the wake of a January 2011 shooting in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Sullivan’s former colleague U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head.

“Metaphor or not, your words suggested to the community that violence is a solution if you do not agree with an elected official’s point of view,” Michael Whelan wrote in a letter to Sullivan. “While the political discourse in Washington may be ugly these days, it is incumbent upon our leaders to set the example and to calm the toxic firestorms brewing within their perspective parties. Your statements poured fuel on that fire.”

It’s not the first time an Oklahoma lawmaker has faced criticism for remarks about guns. At a town hall meeting in Langley in August, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, in describing his frustration with Congress, said: “It’s a good thing I can’t pack a gun on the Senate floor.”

Coburn’s office quickly issued an apology on the senator’s behalf, but Coburn himself told his critics to “get over it.”

“Political correctness is B.S.,” Coburn told The Associated Press at the time. “Tell `em to get over it. It was a joke and everybody laughed. That’s all I have to say about it.”
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Sean Murphy can be reached at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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7 Responses to Oklahoma Congressman suggests shooting Senators, then apologizes

  1. griff

    February 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Don’t worry, he’s a member of the Protected Class. A stern talking-to is in order, while a mere Mundane would be in Gitmo by now.

    Move along, nothing to see here…

  2. Almandine

    February 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Finally… a straight shooter who gets hit with the big PC hammer. Who amongst us hasn’t thought something similar before?

  3. Almandine

    February 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    As for “sensible gun laws”… Carolyn McCarthy wouldn’t know one if it kept her alive. Coburn said it best.

  4. Jon

    February 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Hmm. He complains the House has passed 28 bills that the Senate refuses to vote upon. I wonder how many bills the Senate has passed that the House refuses to vote upon?

    J.

  5. egc52556

    February 25, 2012 at 6:55 am

    I wish i had a wittle gun — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjW_yvrC0cE

    Sullivan put his big fat foot into his mouth and nobody should be shocked that he’s being eviscorated as a result.

  6. Sandy Price

    February 26, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Here is a scenario that I fear could be taken seriously. Santorum is taking a nap on his living room couch with the television set on. He hears the words “Shoot the Senators” and somehow adds “and the President” and believing God is talking to him, hires a hitman to take care of the job. When a human is open to the words from God, there is no reason this could not be the next step to the Catholic Revolution in America.

    Many believed that the Mayan Prophesy about the world ending in December of this year could indeed be based on the destruction of America by a major revolution done by the Christian churches led by the Catholics.

    On Saturday and Sunday many of the MSNSBC programs are filmed in the prisons across America. The prison residents are raging with religious doctrines of saving others and themselves. Not a word about a change in raising the children to know right from wrong but a threat of hell and damnation rules their lives. This is growing out of control in America.

    I read a lot of comments from abroad about this Christian revolution within the GOP and the Euros think we all are ape-shit crazy. I have to agree with them. If any Candidate who runs against Obama in the final election and wins, the Republican Candidate will be shot before he takes office guaranteeing the Christians a win for the gold ring; which is why Santorum and/or Gingrich should never be chosen as V.P.

    I do not want to have to see this knowing the American people were too damn stupid to see it coming. The history of the assassinations of our Presidents will never be on television where the people can see it. They will shrug and call it “God’s Will” and watch dancing with the stars.

  7. glennk1949

    March 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    This from one of the crowd that’s always worried about having their guns taken from them, should they wonder why?