March 25th, 2010
01:52 PM ET

House GOP No. 2: Someone shot at my office

[Updated 1:49 p.m.] A Richmond police spokeswoman confirmed to CNN that a bullet was fired at Rep. Eric Cantor's campaign office.

"We are investigating the circumstance surrounding it," police spokeswoman Karla Peters said. Cantor disclosed the incident to reporters Thursday.

Cantor also accused Democrats of "fanning the flames" of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members "as political weapons." Democrats immediately hit back against Cantor's accusation, repeating their allegations that Republicans are at fault.

"We disagree with the charge made by Rep. Cantor today that Democrats are using acts of violence for political gain," said Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee.

"Let's be clear: calling on Republican leaders who have contributed in part to this anger by wildly mischaracterizing the substance and motives of health reform to condemn these acts is entirely appropriate. Instead distracting from the issue with more attacks, we would again ask Mr. Cantor and other Republicans ... to ratchet down the rhetoric, condemn deplorable behavior and find ways to disagree on these issues without the charged rhetoric that we've been hearing from Republican leaders."

[Posted at 12:33 p.m.] Rep. Eric Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, said Thursday that a bullet had been shot through a window at his district office in Richmond, Virginia. He also said he had received threatening messages.

He said he would not publicly release the messages out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence.

He also accused Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland - a member of the Democratic House leadership - of "fanning the flames" of violence by using threats that have been made against Democratic members "as political weapons."

"Legitimate threats should be treated as security issues, and they should be dealt with by the appropriate law enforcement officials," Cantor told reporters on Capitol Hill. "It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain. ... Enough is enough. It has to stop."

Cantor, who is Jewish, said he had received numerous threats throughout his career both on account of his religion and his position in the GOP leadership.

More than 10 Democrats have reported trouble since the weekend health care vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, told reporters on Wednesday.

Windows have been smashed at Democratic offices in at least three states, and federal agents are investigating whether a cut gas line at the home of a Virginia congressman's brother was related to the lawmaker's yes vote.

Democratic congressional leaders have demanded Republicans join them in condemning a spate of threats and vandalism that has followed Sunday's vote on  a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. health care system.

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Filed under: Health Care • Politics
soundoff (457 Responses)
  1. stella

    Puhleez, it was probably a Republican with a poor shot (Dick Cheney maybe?) that was aiming for a Democrat's office. Instead of blaming the party that is actually being attacked, why doesn't Cantor tell his own violence-inciting party that "it has to stop."

    March 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. formerVAresident

    You live in Richmond and a bullet through the house is a surprise? That city has had issues for years.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. OldUncleTom

    So, I guess this is not an "isolated incident", like all the dozens (or hundreds) of other "isolated incidents".

    Truly, stupidity has never been the exclusive province of either the right or the left. It is regrettable that our political environment has come to this level, but I hope that now, there will be bi-partisan efforts to quell the mayhem.

    I would hope that the majority of Americans "want their country back"; that is, a nation where debates are not settled by broken windows, riots, or murders.

    The law stands, the sky has not fallen, and the election is in November.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. steven harnack

    Typical Republican doublespeak. reporting that you have been threatened by the people that have been influenced by the rightwing nastiness is now "fanning the flames"/ I thought fanning the flames was when you support the rightwing calls for a revolution and exhorting people to take aim at politicians that they don't agree with.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JJ in NY

    Chicago-style politics....just more of the same.
    Probably more democratic operatives who commit these acts upon themselves and then point the finger at the opposing party....similar to what happened in Colorado.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ruffian

    Sorry Mr.Cantor – the GOP strategy of lying about an attack to even out the score is not going to help. No one believes you and your bullet story. And your fake indignation is repulsive. Whose idea was it anyway, Rove's? The GOP "party of lies" has tipped it's hand to the Amercian people, and the people are sickened by your obstructionist tactics. The "party of poor character" cannot endure.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Patrick Charron

    Will this receive the same coverage as the "racial slurs" and bigoted language the Tea Party supposedly used in the last week. Will Democratic leaders take the same responsibility for the actions of their followers that they want the Republicans to own? I would wager dollars to doughnuts it will never happen.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. teacheng

    Oh brother. Cantor going on the offensive now against democrats (!) for inciting people to violence. You have got to be kidding.

    "Using threats of violence as political weapons." Right, buddy. They are concerned about threats of violence being made against them. Your party is the one saying that the health care bill will kill Grandma, that Obama is a "socialist," and that the Democrats are "destroying America."

    In fact, you've said some of those things yourself. Perhaps you're feeling guilty? Perhaps you're worried that Republicans will be rightfully identified as having crossed the line into incitement to violence?

    P.S. If some nut is actually shooting at his house, I hope that catch and lock up that idiot. But we'll see. It oculd be another Lou Dobbs situation, where the vidence of a spent shotgun shell on the roof was dismissd by the police as the ravings of a madman (namely Dobbs himself).

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Linda

    Looking for evidence police report etc. Probably news to the local authorities as well, do they just make it up as they go along, and their automaton followers lack discernment and/or critical thinking skills whatsoever. Sad

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Heather

    The Republicans didn't come out and denounce the violent threats against the Democrats, there are extremists on both sides of the line. Now that there is retaliation they want to blame the Democrats for the situation at hand. If the Republicans weren't fueling the angry mobs, acting like school yard bullies, and showing such inappropriate childish behavior then this might not have happened.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David in Chicago

    The best defense is a good offense...after the vandalism to the Democrats offices...after the epitaphs and spit hurled at Democrats...after Sarah Palin's putting Democratic legislators in the crosshairs of a rifle sight in ads...the republicans are doing what they always do, that being to claim being a "victim" again, of stuff they encourage their own people to do against the other guys.

    Typical. Sad, Predictable.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. samsohn

    have the republicans no shame?

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian Calon

    These extremists need to stop this. I am starting to believe that we need to remove all from office. We really need to scale down government, it is becoming increasing clear that they have over reached. It is understandable that people are getting upset. It's never smart to infringe on an American's freedom. This administration I'm afraid has awoken something big. Hopefully these problems can be resolved without violence and the future of the country can be determined at the ballot box. I know after all I've seen from the current leadership, is that I will be voting for a true conservative. Big government is always a failure, just look at the history books.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RAG

    Very fishy. The bullet needs to be matched against his staffer's guns...

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom F

    Senators (largely Republican) spent months fanning the flames of their constituent bases. They used emotion to block sensible, bi-partisan, discussion and now they are up-in-arms about encountering that emotion. Public, truthful, discussion and debate, would probably not have resulted in this mess. At the very least, some Senators would have been able to wash their hands of any responsibility for this violence, which they presently cannot.

    March 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
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