Begala Now Says Republicans Want to 'Lie About Us'

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - Liberal television pundit and Democrat political strategist Paul Begala has used a liberal blog to try to refute a Cybercast News Service story that quoted him as saying Republicans wanted to kill him and his children to preserve tax cuts for the rich.

Begala's latest commentary appears on the "Campus Progress" blog.

"Republicans don't want to kill us. They just want to lie about us," he wrote. The Campus Progress blog belongs to the group that sponsored his appearance at the July 13 first-ever Campus Progress National Student Conference in Washington, D.C.

"Imagine my surprise in returning from taking my boys fishing with their grandfather in a remote mountain village in upstate New York to find I'd accused the Republicans of wanting to kill us," Begala stated on the blog.

"But, of course, the Republicans don't want to kill us," he said. "They just want to lie about us. In large ways and small, that's what they do."

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, Begala's remarks at the Campus Progress National Student Conference were designed to provide campus liberals with the tools necessary to fight the conservative movement.

Writing on the Campus Progress blog, Begala explained that "when the matter of national security came up (at the conference), I repeated an argument I'd made scores of times on television and in speeches -- that the terrorist threat is, in fact, very real.

"I concluded with the observation that, perhaps if the terrorists killed me, the Republicans would want my children to take comfort in knowing they won't have to pay any tax on the money they'll inherit."

However, a transcript of Begala's July 13 remarks indicate that he said the following:

"I was driving past the Pentagon when that plane hit" on Sept. 11, 2001. "I had friends on that plane; this is deadly serious to me," Begala said.

"They want to kill me and my children if they can. But if they just kill me and not my children, they want my children to be comforted -- that while they didn't protect me because they cut my taxes, my children won't have to pay any money on the money they inherit," Begala said. "That is bulls*** national defense, and we should say that."

In the blog response to the Cybercast News Service story that quoted him, Begala explained: "Rather than clearly delineating between Republicans and terrorists, I'd referred to each as 'they' -- in very different contexts.

Begala conceded that, "I did use the pronoun 'they' without a clear antecedent." He apologized to a former high school teacher, who Begala stated had taught him sufficiently for him not to make such a grammatical slip.

"But no one -- not one of the hundreds of people in the room had a hard time distinguishing between 'they,' the terrorists (who want to kill us) and 'they,' the Republicans (who'd rather cut taxes for the rich than do all we must do to defend America)," Begala added on the Campus Progress blog.

Begala stated that he was "amused" to see his July 13 remarks get so much attention on the Internet.

He wondered why the conservative bloggers who reacted to the Cybercast News Service article "could be such dunderheads -- or so duplicitous" and "that they have such a low image of themselves that they would think that anyone would confuse them with terrorists."

David Thibault, editor-in-chief of Cybercast News Service, said readers "should not be fooled" by Begala's attempt to clarify his remarks.

"This is all about Begala trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube," Thibault said. "There was nothing unclear about what Begala said, and he, as a pundit, should know that words matter. We quoted him accurately. We even ran the quote in its entirety as a video clip on our website.

"And not surprisingly, the only ones defending Begala are his friends on the far left who think the same way he does," Thibault added.

"It's really not my place here to judge whether Republicans, as Begala claimed at the Campus Progress Student Conference are 'brain dead.' But let's put it this way: If Republicans, who have won the last three national elections, are brain dead, what does that say about Begala and the Democrats?"

David Halperin, director of the Campus Progress program, on Thursday requested that Cybercast News Service retract its original story on Begala's July 13 comments.

See Earlier Story:
Ex-Clinton Aide Charges Republicans 'Want to Kill Us' (July 15, 2005)

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