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Gibbs' no-holds-barred repudiation of Stern’s language is particularly noteworthy because...


White House Repudiates SEIU’s Stern Talk of Opponents as ‘Terrorists’

Gibbs’ no-holds-barred repudiation of Stern’s language is particularly noteworthy because…

The White House yesterday took one of President Obama’s closest political friends to task, declaring that labor boss Andrew Stern’s use of the term “terrorist” to describe opponents of health care reform and organized labor’s much-pursued “card check” legislation is language that “make[s] no sense.”

Twice in the last week, Service Employee International Union President Stern deployed the term “terrorist” to characterize political opponents.  At a panel hosted by the Center for American Progress on January 26th, he referred to policy changes that Sens. Joe Lieberman (Independent Democrat-CT.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb) made during health care negotiations and said the country "should send the national security people over to [the Senate to] explain to them why we don’t negotiate with terrorists…"

Later, in comments that appeared in Business Week Magazine, Stern again took a swipe at Lieberman and Nelson for their opposition to the card-check proposal, which the SEIU and other unions have made a major priority and which opponents say would severely weaken the secret ballot in union elections.

In referring to Lieberman, Nelson and senators who opposed card-check, the SEIU boss said “[T]here are a lot of terrorists in the Senate who think we are supposed to negotiate with them when they have their particular needs that they want met."

At yesterday’s briefing for reporters at the White House, I contrasted the praise President Obama had received for the tone of his address at the House Republican retreat last week with the harsh words of Stern and particularly his likening people he disagreed with to terrorists.

“Is that the kind of talk the President associates with or repudiates?” I asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

“I have said this many times in this room about different policy debates,” Gibbs replied, “ Nobody should be compared to people that — to the people that have sought to do the world harm through terrorism [emphasis added].

“Nobody should be compared to Nazis.  I think in the heat of these debates people tend to get overexcited on both sides of the political spectrum, in both parties, and I think that those types of comments on either side make no sense.”

Gibbs’ no-holds-barred repudiation of Stern’s language is particularly noteworthy because, along with being an early and vigorous supporter of Obama in the ’08 campaign, the SEIU boss has had 22 appointments with Obama in the White House in the past year — making him the most frequent visitor with Obama since he became President. 

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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