Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Hamilton County's Dem Chief Rips Jean Schmidt: 'Saturday Night Live Got It Right'
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke says OH-02 U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt's House speech asserting "the Chinese are drilling off the coast of Florida" is another Saturday Night Live moment. He was, of course, referring back to the now legendary 2005 comedy bit that lampooned Republican Schmidt for calling Democratic U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a Marine Corps Vietnam War hero, a "coward."
Burke says Schmidt, who lives in Clermont County near Cincinnati, should retract her statement that the Chinese are involved in energy extraction off the coast of Florida because it is both ludicrous and false. She made the statement June 5 on the House floor, a speech that is available here on YouTUBE. Burke says Schmidt has not offered a scintilla of evidence to back up her claim. Instead, she has cited the political grapevine, and says she was repeating what others have said. In a letter to Schmidt obtained by The Daily Bellwether, Burke says:
"If you continue to believe that such drilling is going on, where is it located? How far off the coast? Latitude and longitude? How many platforms are involved. I don't think you will or can answer those questions because you know your original claim was false.
"While I have no reason to believe that you made a deliberate attempt to deceive, you made a statement on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives that was not true, a mistake that should be acknowledged and corrected. That is all I asked. So I was surprised to see your vitriolic, wild reply. I shouldn't have been give your history: plagiarizing as you own a newspaper column already published by another member of Congress; suggesting a nuclear waste dump might be a good thing in the Second District; and in another embarrassing speech on the floor of the House, accused a colleague in Congress, a Marine Corps hero, of being a coward. I guess Saturday Night Live got it right."
There's more on the ongoing "Chinese drilling off the coast of Florida" flap here. The issue is being driven by the Republican congresswoman's refusal to admit she made a mistake, and her insistence that others have made the same claim. In fact, no one has said the Chinese are drilling off the coast of Florida. There have been statements that China and Cuba may be starting to explore for oil in Cuban territory. Burke seems to have delivered a strong punch by demanding that she reveal the latitude and longitude of the Chinese drilling platforms that she claims exist somewhere off the coast of Florida.