|Tom DeLay- Corporate Whore|
Kennedy served in military; House GOP leader didn't
Friday, August 1, 2003 Posted: 6:31 PM EDT (2231 GMT)
Rep. Tom DeLay incurred the wrath of some Democrats with his comments about Sen. Edward Kennedy.
I certainly don't want to see Teddy Kennedy in a Navy flight suit.
-- Rep. Tom DeLay
This country deserves more patriots like Senator Kennedy, not more chicken hawks like you who never served.
-- Former Sen. Max Cleland
WASHINGTON (AP) -- "I certainly don't want to see Teddy Kennedy in a Navy flight suit."
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay used that image in a speech last week as he accused Democrats of a lack of leadership on national security. His joke at the expense of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, touched off a verbal war Friday.
"To try to gauge just how out of touch the Democrat leadership is on the war on terror, just close your eyes and try to imagine Ted Kennedy landing that Navy jet on the deck of that aircraft carrier," DeLay, R-Texas, told a group of college Republicans. "I don't know about you, I certainly don't want to see Teddy Kennedy in a Navy flight suit anytime soon."
DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella called it "tongue-in-cheek" humor, but Democrats came to Kennedy's defense.
Former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, a Democrat and a Vietnam veteran who lost a bitter re-election race in 2002, dashed off a letter to DeLay calling the comments "reprehensible" and finishing up with his own barb: "This country deserves more patriots like Senator Kennedy, not more chicken hawks like you who never served."
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, also a Democrat and Vietnam veteran, chastised DeLay in a letter Friday for his "tasteless and unnecessary smear of Senator Kennedy." The remark's tone, he said, seemed to question Kennedy's military service record.
Kennedy served in the Army. DeLay did not serve in the military.
Kennedy spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the incident was "another missed opportunity for DeLay to set a good example in front of an audience of young people rather than promote the politics of personal destruction."
While criticizing the Democrats for failing to see the humor in DeLay's remarks, Grella said there is a serious issue involved.
"The Democratic party has a lot to answer for in terms of their decimating our intelligence and not being there for our military and our national defense," he said. The military veterans in Congress, he said, don't have exclusive rights to opinions on national security.
Comments: Post a Comment