Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hispanic Dems furious over GOP video

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By Jared Allen

Hispanic Democrats are furious and demanding an apology over an image wedged in a new GOP web video on terrorism that shows members of the Hispanic Caucus sitting at a table with President Obama.

“On behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), we write to demand an apology for the inclusion of the picture of the CHC meeting with President Obama in the video on your official website entitled “Do You Feel Safer?,’” the CHC wrote in a letter being sent to Republican Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), whose office created the video.

Earlier Thursday Boehner and Intelligence Committee Ranking Republican Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) released the 1-minute, 24-second web video “highlighting the Administration’s lack of a comprehensive strategy to confront and fight the terrorist threat,” according to a Boehner office press release.

Among many other images designed to, according to the GOP, “[underscore] why the American people are growing more worried about the Administration’s political decisions on national security,” the video includes an image at the 1:11 mark of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus at the White House.

“Latinos contribute to the progress of this nation, and have a long standing history of serving of our country,” Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the CHC, said in an accompanying statement. “The video posted on Congressman John Boehner’s official website is a completely inappropriate message for the leader of the minority party to send to the American people.”

“It’s disrespectful to the hard-working Latinos across the nation, serving in every sector of our economy and on our military’s front lines,” Velazquez’s statement continued. “The CHC demands an apology from the Minority Leader for this insensitivity and that the video be removed immediately.”

“This is beyond silly,” Boehner spokesman Michael Steel responded. “The video also includes an image of the President speaking at the House Democratic Retreat in Virginia. Is the Congressional Hispanic Caucus suggesting that every Democrat in the House is connected with terrorists? Of course not. America’s national security is serious. This complaint is not.”

The image complaint aside, Democrats chided the video just as soon as it was circulated.

“Republicans are once again resorting to fear tactics because they have no new ideas or constructive policies to offer,” Katie Grant, spokesman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), told The Hill. “The American people have already rejected their politics of fear, and this will be no different. Democrats are providing real change and real solutions, which is exactly what the American people expect and deserve from their leaders.”

The strikingly dark and ominous video starts by asking; “What are Democrats doing to keep America safe?” It then launches into a series of video clips highlighting what the GOP charges are dangerous decisions by the Obama administration, including the decision to close the suspected terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, and the more recent decision to release previously classified Bush administration legal memos detailing enhanced interrogation techniques – techniques that Democrats have said are torture.

“The real question we now face is what is President Obama’s strategy to confront this threat from radical jihadists?” Hoekstra asks in a news clip.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden is shown in the next clip telling Fox News: “I think that teaching our enemies our outer limits, by taking techniques off the table, we have made it more difficult in a whole host of circumstances I can imagine, more difficult for CIA officers to defend the nation.”

Toward the end of the video, a silent question asks, “After 100 days… Do you feel safer?,” between which a flurry of images flash across the screen – some for a few moments longer than the others.

One of those images is of President Obama meeting with the Hispanic Caucus at the White House. The other images include Obama bowing before the King of Saudi Arabia, speaking before the entire House Democratic Caucus, laughing at a podium with Vice President Joe Biden, slapping hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a group of apparent jihadists burning an American flag, an explosion, a hooded man with a rocket launcher, and an image of the Pentagon from Sept. 11.

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