POLITICS

GOP Rep. Smiles, Nods As Man Declares Himself A "Proud Right Wing Terrorist" (VIDEO)

09/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Earlier this week, it was reported that Rep. Wally Herger, (R-Cali.) had hosted a town meeting during which he praised an attendee for declaring himself a "proud right-wing terrorist."

"Amen, God bless you," Herger told the man, named Bert Stead. "There is a great American."

In light of the angry protests sprouting up at townhalls throughout the country -- with several of the protesters toting guns -- the scene was clearly noteworthy. But questions remained as to how just how sincere the man was in registering his anger and Herger in his response.

Pretty sincere, it turns out. A Democratic source passed along video of the event to the Huffington Post and it shows, quite clearly, that Herger offered not just sympathetic laughter and a hearty smile but also a full-throat endorsement of the Stead's position.

Here's the video:

Herger's remarks, when first reported, were criticized by some in the media for fanning the flames of politically-motivated violence.

"This is the dangerous edge, in which these people, including some elected officials are now dancing," said Chris Matthews. "We've been here before. Words lead to actions, words create the national mood, the mood creates a license. People take that license and use it."

The congressman, however, stands by what he said.

"Congressman Herger stands by his statement in support of his constituent," read a statement from his office. "Mr. Bert Stead is a taxpayer and veteran, who, like so many others, is rightfully fed up with being called 'un-American', or 'extremist' or a 'political terrorist' by liberals in Washington, for simply exercising his First Amendment rights. Mr. Stead served his country and therefore he is a great American. The Congressman doesn't at all regret commending him for standing up, exercising his free speech rights, and expressing his strong concerns with the direction liberals in Washington are taking our country."

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