Paul Broun condemns town hall question, ‘Who’s going to shoot Obama?’

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, R-Athens, just issued a sharp condemnation of a constituent who, at a town hall meeting this week, raised the prospect of violence against President Barack Obama.

A spokesman for Broun also confirmed that his office contacted the Secret Service to report incident.

Broun’s relatively quick reaction is an indication of a changed climate since last month’s shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. The incident happened on Tuesday night, but didn’t get widespread play until Thursday.

A Broun staffer, as reported by the Athens Banner-Herald, almost immediately called the question “inappropriate.” Broun himself weighed in once it became clear that — this morning — the incident was developing national legs.

From Broun:

“Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question.

After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities. I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements—made in sincerity or jest—that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”

The Washington Post has dipped in with this:

According to Ed Donovan, a Secret Service spokesman, the situation has been looked into.

“We’re aware of the incident and the appropriate steps were taken,” Donovan told me. “At this point it’s a closed matter.”

A law enforcement source confirmed that the Secret Service interviewed the constituent and determined that he or she was an “elderly person” who now regrets making a bad joke.

Here’s the original post on the incident, first recounted by Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald. The remark, Aued wrote, got a big laugh from the crowd.

Aued also captured what he said was Broun’s immediate response:

“The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Broun spokesman Austin Carson disputes that. “[Broun] made no response to the original question except to say, ‘Next question,’” Carson said. The words above that Aued reported, the spokesman said, was Broun’s answer to the next question. Which was also apparently critical of the president.

Clearly, many people will question whether Broun’s response was swift or strong enough. Among them are Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown, D-Macon:

“Congressman Broun showed no leadership, no tact, and no courage. No elected official should tacitly agree that shooting the president is an acceptable act. He should apologize for his stunning lack of moral courage to the citizens of Georgia, and to the president himself.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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202 comments Add your comment

Lum

February 25th, 2011
12:31 pm

Way out of bounds!! But let me ask why much of the media ignores such threats when they come from the Left? Such as the outrageous comments made about Justice Clarence Thomas? No one in most media seemed even to care.

Dunwoody Mom

February 25th, 2011
12:35 pm

I guess Broun forgot to add the part where he laughed at the question and made no attempt at the time to point out to the questioner his wrong-doing.

Frank Gerber

February 25th, 2011
12:36 pm

“the incident happened on Tuesday night, but didn’t get widespread play until Thursday”

And when did Broun issue the condemnation? Friday!

Vick Supporter

February 25th, 2011
12:38 pm

White people at their finest! No surprise at all!

H Britten

February 25th, 2011
12:38 pm

Whoa. Reports are that Broun LAUGHED after the question was asked. I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat; that’s not an acceptable response. Why didn’t he push back IMMEDIATELY rather than wait a few days till it got into the mainstream press?

This is hardly the sign of a “changed climate” politically.

Interesting Observation

February 25th, 2011
12:38 pm

Lum, please enlighten us on the specifics regarding a member of the audience at a town hall meeting hosted by a member of Congress asking, “Who is going to shoot Thomas?.”

Lance Link, Secret Chimp

February 25th, 2011
12:40 pm

When did someone ask when Clarence Thomas was going to be shot? I must have missed that one in the “lame stream media”. The issue here is that Mr. Broun had the opportunity to clearly and unequivocally say that that type of rhetoric is unacceptable and chose not to. Sad really.

Sounds like a Wimpy Move

February 25th, 2011
12:40 pm

My question is why didn’t he call out the man and state right then and there that the comment was inappropriate. Making a media statement two days later is unacceptable. I also do not believe Broun is being sincere as his actions tell a different story. It is find to voice your disagreement but to suggest bodily harm is a entirely different matter.

Chuck Hill

February 25th, 2011
12:41 pm

I just read about Bobby Franklin of Marietta. What an evil, probably-insane human being.

Georgia is doing some great things to make sure y’all stay in the public eye!

Good thing you are not trying to recruit any international business these days.

Ramzad

February 25th, 2011
12:42 pm

This is the kind of garbage that is the stock and trade of Republican and Tea Party politics.
Thieir hate, their unbridled frustration, their reliance on fear and racemongering is stunning.

I suppose the question of “who is going to shoot Obama” is a family value in a good portion
of these households. Sickening!

Luda

February 25th, 2011
12:43 pm

Wow..Thats very interesting. But lets pull back the sheets for a second…There are plenty of people who ask themselves that very question, but wouldnt say it aloud. Sad, but true. Not saying its right because it isnt. But never has a President been viewed as being the cause of the Fall of America. Think about it, if you drive up 85 going towards Commerce, you will see billboards with President Obama’s face on it with snide comments attached. Really? But you cant go to an airport in Texas and mention any comments about former presidents? Freedom of speech (yeah, I know the drill) but this country is all twisted now and many blame him for it.

Don Lachlan

February 25th, 2011
12:45 pm

Jim,

This wasn’t a quick response – whether in jest or not, Broun was asked, to his face, about killing the president and he did not say disagree for 2 days. That’s NOT quick. On the contrary, you reported yesterday that he did IMMEDIATELY respond to the questioner, talking about “frustration with this president” and pushing his regular rhetoric; his 2-day-late press release does not match the facts of what actually happened.

Excuse me, but if someone threatens the president, you dignify it with an immediate response. If Broun doesn’t think so, he isn’t up to the task of being a Congressman.

Aquagirl

February 25th, 2011
12:48 pm

“Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated”—-when it hits the news several days later.

PosterChild

February 25th, 2011
12:48 pm

Why was he stunned? The Congressman has compared the President to Hitler and a Marxist. When constituents hear that kind of talk, it’s permission to follow suit. The Congressman must be a fan of FOX cable channel. That’s where he gets his talking points.

aamom

February 25th, 2011
12:49 pm

Luda – the fall of American started with Bush. Wonderful President Obama is bringing us back again.

Tyler Durden

February 25th, 2011
12:49 pm

Swift response? He only issued this statement after the AP and some other outlets picked up the story. Ya gotta call b/s on his faux outrage over it now. He’s only in CYA mode; at the time, he likely knew it was simply how his core audience operates: irrationally and outside the boundaries of common sense.

And while strongly contest Lum’s assertion that the Left does this too, you have to consider the sheer degree to which this is the NORM for rightwingers. And always remember: the real difference is how often the rightwing nutjobs actually do commit acts of violence in the name of ideology. Perhaps these names ring a bell: Eric Rudolph, James Kopp, Timothy McVeigh.

Oh… that’s right. If it doesn’t support the GOP ideology, then it simply doesn’t exist. I keep forgetting to apply that simple test to anything that might contradict the wingnuts…

terry

February 25th, 2011
12:50 pm

Brock

February 25th, 2011
12:51 pm

black people supporting vick- not surprised at all. See, it works both ways, however I’ll get labeled as a racist.

chillywilly

February 25th, 2011
12:51 pm

If the truth be told, Broun probably told that racist idiot to ask “Who’s going to shoot Obama”? In my opinion, Broun is a no good, low down racist that has no business in public office.

As the late Stokely Carmichael stated “America is going to die one day”.

Dusty Bottoms

February 25th, 2011
12:51 pm

Sorry, but anyone breathes the words “freedom of speech” in this context may as well say “I am a huge idiot and have no concept of how the First amendment is actually applied to public speech.”
The best thing for anyone that stupid to do is join a local Tea Party outfit or run for the GA General Assembly. They should feel right at home with all the other mouth-breathing pea-brained Republicans.

Cardinal

February 25th, 2011
12:52 pm

How is a response on Friday to something that happened on Tuesday considered relatively quick? That’s absurd! And then Braun’s comments or fake “condemnation” only came after this hit the big newswires. What a fake liar he is! Braun had the opportunity to “condemn” that sttement then, but laughed and did otherwise. The political climate isn’t changing but getting worse with bigots voting for bigots to run the state and into congressional offices.

robbie

February 25th, 2011
12:53 pm

The sign on 85 has a picture of Obama and beside it says WE THE PEOPLE, not me the President.

liberal conservative

February 25th, 2011
12:54 pm

Wow! I just wasted a few minutes reading this article and the comments. Broun handled it just fine. What a bunch of whiners on here. Bye!

The Real Politico

February 25th, 2011
12:55 pm

Comments like Luda’s are the reason we’re in the mess we are in America today.
it’s their way or the country be damned.
People have died and are dying right now for yahoo’s like that to express their opinion.
Too bad YOU don’t love your country enough!

Longtime Educator

February 25th, 2011
12:55 pm

Politics aside, I don’t understand why this President is being blamed for ALL the ills of current America. The landslide started while Bush was in office, and as long as all politicians play the political game to achieve more for themselves rather than doing what is best for their constituents, our country will continue it’s downward slide.

Not for Vick -

February 25th, 2011
12:55 pm

Blacks are so innocent in the race hating in town! Not! Lived here many years and found it to be one of the most hate filled cities on earth – and it ‘aint’ one-sided! Not even close!

Justin

February 25th, 2011
12:56 pm

@ Luda…so you said all that to say what? That this moron’s comment was justified? Give me a break!

Last Man Standing

February 25th, 2011
12:57 pm

I am just happy that the liberal/democrats are free of hatred and do not speak ill of their opposition. If we would all truly try to emulate them, there would be peace and harmony throughout the land. Dems/libs never had a disparaging remark to utter against President George Bush, did they? Certainly, they were all pleased with President Raegan?

If Broun had summarily executed the questioner at the meeting, you dems/libs would be complaining that he waited three seconds too long to do it and that he should have used a larger caliber weapon.

Take a hike!

Smug Conservative

February 25th, 2011
12:58 pm

Amazing….I don’t know which is more insulting….a threat to a sitting president made by an elderly person…..or the myopic, wrong-headed, insensitive & woe-fully misinformed opinions of bigots on the other side of the political aisle. In the thousands of hours of Tea Party gathering videos, there has been very few suggestions of violence or racial bigotry……………………………YET, in the few hours of Wisconsin Protest videos Violence, Bigotry & Hate have been plainly visible from the oldest to the youngest of supporters……..Yet they are given a pass as if what they are proposing is perfectly legitimate.

Can you say Mindless Hypocrites ????

Deke

February 25th, 2011
1:02 pm

For the last 7 years, I’ve worked with a man who, since the beginning of Obama’s presidency, has made repeated comments on how he’d love to see Obama assassinated.

He’s also a senior member of management. He’s also a Christian conservative. If you’re shocked at that last bit of information…you shouldn’t be.

Aquagirl

February 25th, 2011
1:03 pm

…And in blusters Last Man, demonstrating his lack of distinction between criticism and threats of bodily violence. Because they’re just the same, y’know.

Ted Striker

February 25th, 2011
1:03 pm

Brouns’ “sharp condemnation” sounds totally phony after the way he handled the affair when it happened.

He’s as big an embarrassment for the Republican Party as Cynthia McKinney was for the Democratic party. Both of them are too far out and have/had too little respect from their peers to be effective.

vernon

February 25th, 2011
1:04 pm

@ luda
Yeah, that is interesting. I mean think about it. This country was 236 years old and in the best shape it had ever been in when Barack Obama took over. Bush had really taken us to a great place and in just two years Obama has ruined it.
Yes I’m being sarcastic. That should be obvious. But if you are really so naive that you don’t know why some people hate Barack Obama maybe I’d better point it out just to be on the safe side.

TnGelding

February 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

The use of Obamacare is a misnomer and inflammatory itself. Attend a Town Hall Meeting at your own peril. There are a lot of crazies out there. So many people do get shot in this country it’s something you just can’t joke about. The fact that it was reported and checked out by the SS is encouraging.

TrafficHeadache

February 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

The difference between left and right is obvious:

Left: “I disagree with you but you have a right to say it.”

Right: “I disagree with you and if you say it, you’re a communist.”

John MD

February 25th, 2011
1:09 pm

Proud Liberal

February 25th, 2011
1:10 pm

In the thousands of hours of Tea Party gathering videos, there has been very few suggestions of violence or racial bigotry

Umm. There have been ALOT of suggestions of violence and racial bigotry at Tea Party gatherings.

ALOT.

I personally saw three people out of a few hundred carrying around Obama’s hung in effigy.

Lets just say I also heard the N word quite a bit that day.

To many Rednecks still here

February 25th, 2011
1:11 pm

To little too late. To have not done this when it happened is just political CYA. A real man would have grabbed the bull by the horns and had the guy thrown out and then addressed the rest of the room to say how out of line and WRONG that was. What do we get, another politician more worried about re-election than doing the right thing.

TnGelding

February 25th, 2011
1:12 pm

Communist or worse. But hey, I can take it.

THOMAS PAINE II

February 25th, 2011
1:16 pm

After reading “Longtime Educator”’s comments, it should be clear to anyone just why sensible Americans are becoming fed up with the NEA and its ilk who are becoming famous for poorly educating our children and demanding perks far in excess of any enjoyed by the ‘regular folks’. Blaming Bush for all of America’s current ills has now become indicative of brain-dead liberals who are in love with LARGE government. Even someone as poorly educated as this ‘educator’ should have enough common sense to know that “When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging”. But, or course, this makes far too much sense to be acceptable to the left who just know that they are entitled to whatever they want regardless of the consequences; a la Wisconsin, et al.

Proud Liberal

February 25th, 2011
1:18 pm

This country was 236 years old and in the best shape it had ever been in when Barack Obama took over

Huh?

National debt was about a trillion dollars when Reagan took office. In 8 years he quadrupled it.

Was around 5 trillion during Bush Senior.

Clinton balanced the books. The government was actually paying off its debt.

Took W about 10 days to blow that by giving tax cuts to his rich buddies. See Enron

Debt was around 5 trillion when W took over. In 8 years he doubled it to 10 Trillion

TRUTH

February 25th, 2011
1:19 pm

Wow, just, wow. Frankly, I don’t understand why ANYONE is surprised by this question to the congressman. This pot has been getting stirred since PRESIDENT OBAMA was ELECTED. Just listen to the open and distasteful comments that have been reported on (and the uglier comments placed in the blogosphere). These congressmen/senators/pundits, et. al., have been crafting this sentiment from the beginning, and frankly, to suddenly be “surprised” and to “condemn” such statements AFTER THE FACT is BALONEY. Even though I did not agree with President Bush, I did not tolerate nor allow anyone to make those statements towards a president that is the elected official of this country. The cowardly actions of these people are criminal and treasonous and should be addressed as such. Further, hiding behind the flag and claiming to be doing the “people’s work,” while yet supporting the demise of a sitting President who is African American smacks of racial bigotry. I don’t care what those on this blog will say, damn that, it is what it is. If Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter were sitting as the President today, these type questions or comments would NEVER be uttered.

It is shameful. It is appalling. It is Criminal. And the leadership of the Republican Party should demand Broun’s resignation…what’s that?? Oh, the leadership would have to recuse themselves, BECAUSE THE HELPED FOSTER THIS SENTIMENT OF HATE AND MOB MENTALITY!!!

Jus sayin’

MyMy

February 25th, 2011
1:20 pm

I can’t understand why people think that Obama has ruined this counrty. We were all doing good when Clinton was in office then Bush took over. Now Obama has to come in and clean up all that Bush messed up for this country. It took Bush eight years to jack everything up. Why do people think it’s all Obama fault now it’s going to take more than eight years to get this country back on track.

Wendy Breeze

February 25th, 2011
1:20 pm

To many Rednecks still here, so when are you leaving?

steve

February 25th, 2011
1:22 pm

I agree the comment was out of line… but didn’t someone make a movie about killing George W. Bush about 5 years ago and nobody seemed to care? Wasn’t there a book published detailing how to kill him? It goes both ways… regardless of who the President is or what party they are from… violence against them or jokes about violence against them aren’t funny and shouldn’t be tolerated.

Blue

February 25th, 2011
1:22 pm

Ramzad; yeah…because one idiot is a reflection of an entire demographic. You’ve proved it now! Kind of like Vick Supporter…yeah, because we know black people never kill people or commit crimes. We are still holdin’ you down…racist.

59bulldawg

February 25th, 2011
1:24 pm

This yahoo must be cut from the same cloth as the idiot in Alabama who poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner. I live in Virginia now but am saddened to see my hometown of Athens and the surrounding area tarnished by such a statement.

Dan Matthews

February 25th, 2011
1:26 pm

Congressman Broun could have been a little more upfront at the time the question was asked but instead took a solid 72 hours to respond – Tuesday to Friday

will

February 25th, 2011
1:26 pm

The “report” that Broun laughed is a liberal LIE. Broun made no comment or jesture at all.
LOL@ the 10th District replacing Broun with a Democrat. It will NEVER happen.

fishtales

February 25th, 2011
1:31 pm

I condemn all statements—made in sincerity or jest—that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official.

Yeah, POTUS or any elected official. You regular citizen scum though could all use a few bullets or swipes upside the head with a Louisville Slugger. Mr. Broun, how about the use of violence against ANYBODY?!?!?