POLITICS
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Rep. Blackburn Won't Pledge To Stop Calling Obama A Socialist

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, one of the most prominent flamethrowers in the House of Representatives, simply could not commit herself on Thursday to no longer call President Obama a socialist or a tyrant.

Appearing at the Bloomberg Washington Summit, the Tennessee Republican was asked whether she disapproved of some of the more vitriolic rhetoric heard at conservative town-hall or tea-party protests.

"I think many of us would appreciate having a more civil tone here in Washington," Blackburn responded. "And what we would love to see is less partisanship; and individuals coming to the table and sitting down and working in a bipartisan manner. That is one of the items that has been so frustrating in dealing with the health care bill."

Nice dodge. Gary Flake, an employee of Microsoft and the person who posed the question, kept at it. Will you, he asked, "no longer endorse the words and language of socialism and evil and tyranny and things like that."

"What I will tell you --" Blackburn replied, carefully choosing her words.

"-- Is a crisp answer?" chimed in Flake.

"What I will be happy to tell you is that the American people are very frustrated," replied Blackburn, getting a big flummoxed. "And what I can speak to is for me. And what I think to do is to represent my constituents in ways that are going to honor the fact that they have elected me and that they have sent me here. They want to see action... They are frustrated with Washington D.C. as a whole. And what we need to do is make certain that we as representatives coming here are able to sit down and work on these issues and work these problems out."

With that, the interview ended. Unbeknown to both parties at the time was that a local official from Blackburn's home state had just thrown another rhetorical haymaker at the White House. Rep. Richard Floyd, a Republican member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, blasted out an email on Thursday afternoon warning about "what socialist leader Obama and his gang of thugs are trying to do to this country." Floyd was worried, for some odd reason, that Obama was trying to take away people's firearms.

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