Washington Times columnist Greg Pierce stated in a July 18 column that CNN political commentator and former Clinton aide Paul Begala said that "Republicans want to kill him and his children to preserve tax cuts for the rich" at a recent Campus Progress conference. But that's not what he said, as an audio recording of Begala's remarks shows and Campus Progress has noted. It is clear from the context of his remarks that Begala was stating that terrorists "want to kill me and my children if they can."
Here's what Begala actually said (audio clip available here, courtesy of Campus Progress) at the July 13 Campus Progress National Student Conference:
BEGALA: Yet, we sit back and allow George W. Bush and our Republican friends to pull out 9-11 like a cheap handgun in a bar fight. Okay? "9-11." There's a drought in the Midwest -- "9-11." The deficit's up -- "9-11." You know?
But I think we need to fight them on that. I think, frankly, they did a piss-poor job of defending us, and their strategy was always, "We'll fight them over there so we don't fight them here." Well, guess what? [Osama] bin Laden didn't get the memo. He wants to fight us here as well, as we saw in London last week. And so, their theory is: We can't really do everything to protect our country because we have to cut taxes for the rich.
And so, it -- they want to kill us, particularly in this city and New York and some other places. I was driving past the Pentagon when that plane hit. I had friends on that plane, this is deadly serious to me -- 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. You know, that is bullshit national defense, and we should say that.
Mr. Begala, who was participating in a panel discussion, created a stir when he declared that Republicans had done a "poor job of defending" the United States, CNSNews.com reports.
Republicans, he added, "want to kill us."
He continued, "I was driving past the Pentagon when that plane hit" on September 11. "I had friends on that plane. This is deadly serious to me.
"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," Mr. Begala said.
Conservative website NewsMax.com reprinted Ede's CNS article, and NewsMax columnist Geoff Metcalf repeated the claim in a July 18 column. Several conservative bloggers, including syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, also repeated the claim.