(Just realized Charley covered this interview this morning — sorry! Nonetheless, I find the “pond scum” remark noteworthy enough to get its own headline.)
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. On Wednesday I posted about Gabriel Gomez’s new ad, which refers to “Dirty Ed Markey” and accuses Markey of “comparing” Gomez to Osama bin Laden and “blaming” Gomez for the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Yesterday, at the Needham-Newton Chamber of Commerce, Gomez spoke with a reporter (Tovia Smith, Boston-based reporter for NPR) and what he had to say was pretty astounding.
Transcript (best I could do):
Reporter: “You mentioned your ad, the campaign says it’s up and running now. There’s some Democrats talking about it’s a ‘sign of desperation,’ going after ‘Dirty Ed Markey’…”
Gomez (scoffing): “Ed Markey is ‘Dirty Ed Markey.’ Let me frame it this way: For a guy to come out with his first web video, to put me next to Osama bin Laden. A former Seal. Maybe he doesn’t understand, perhaps, who killed bin Laden. The Seals. All because I criticized the President. I was critical of him because they released so much classified information about that raid. And even Secretary Feinberg, uh, Senator Feinstein, came out and agreed with me. And it puts the troops in harm’s way. It not only puts the troops in harm’s way, but their families in harm’s way. Because now we know what unit conducted the raid, we know what kind of tactics, what kind of aircraft they flew in there. And even made a movie about it afterwards.”
Reporter: “So the offense was putting you side-by-side on the same screen?”
Gomez: “I don’t think there’s anything more… You know, I’ve got four young kids, and they’ve got to sit there and they’ve got to see an ad with their dad, who served honorably. Talk to anybody I served with, whether it was a pilot or as a Seal, or anybody I’ve worked with. And for him to be as dirty and low, pond scum, to…like…put me up there next to bin Laden, he’s just gotta be called what he is.”
Reporter: “And you say in the ad that he ‘blamed you’ for Newtown.”
Gomez: “Well, then he puts an ad up there, inferring basically, basically blaming me. Ed – Congressman Markey’s been around for 40 years. He knows exactly what he’s doing. OK, now he can hide behind all his lawyerly discussions about, ‘Well, I didn’t technically say this.’ It’s just like… Congressman Markey can’t defend the fact that he has not authored a single piece of legislation in the last 20 years that’s been signed by the President. But he comes back with these lawyerly explanations, you know, and all that. Well, he’s a lawyer. You see, he’s going to litigate everything. But the facts are, I’ve got the facts on my side.”
Reporter: “But the fact that he ‘blamed you’ for Newtown…”
Gomez: “Well, watch the ad.”
Reporter: “I know, I’ve seen the ad.”
Gomez: “You see that it infers it.”
Reporter: “He infers it by saying that you are against an assualt weapons…”
Gomez: “He knows what ads do. He knows, he knows what ads do. Congressman Markey’s been around for 40 years, and he knows what he’s doing.”
Reporter: “Is an assault weapons ban going to get…”
At this point another man, presumably from the campaign, says “You’re only supposed to get one question here” and Gomez walks away. The reporter asks for a follow-up and the second man tells the reporter she’s had three follow-ups and (I believe) suggests that she’s being hostile, which she disputes.
- Both the Globe and factcheck.org have said that Markey’s very even-handed ad (to which Gomez’s ad responds) is true, and Gomez’s allegations are false. Markey’s video did not “compare” Gomez to bin Laden, it showed him in a split screen with images of bin Laden that appeared in the anti-Obama video Gomez was hawking. It also showed him in a split screen with President Obama himself for an equal amount of time.
- Likewise, Markey’s ad on gun control simply showed Gomez on television, stating in his own words that he does not support a ban on high-capacity clips. “Like the one used” in the Sandy Hook massacre.
- Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute says Gomez’s assertion that Markey’s an ineffective legislator is baseless: “It’s, at best, a shaky attack. I’ve watched Markey since he came to the House and I’ve written many times before that he’s one of the most effective legislators” in Congress.
- Barack Obama just got 61% of the vote in Massachusetts in November, running against our former Governor, no less. His approval rating here is still in the same range. But Gomez wants to elaborate on his criticism of Obama for the way Osama bin Laden’s killing was handled. “Please proceed,” easement granter…
- Points deducted for confusing “infer” and “imply.”
But the real takeaway for me is that Gomez, while claiming he’s the victim of dirty campaign tactics, thinks it’s OK to call his opponent “pond scum.”
Stay classy, Massachusetts Republicans…