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. twinmom

    "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."

    And where were these Democratic congressional leaders when Cindy Sheehan and hundreds of her followers were camped out in Crawford Tx, or by Cheney's house, harassing all who came and left these properties? And where were these Democratic congressional leaders when the military recruiting office in NY Times Square was bombed? What about when the Berkeley (CA) City Council gave extended parking permits to anti-war activitists so they could harass military personnel coming/going to the recruitment office, and wrote a letter commending Code Pink for their obstructionist activities? Were the Democrats kick to jump on John Kerry for his anti-war rhetoric which fueled these incidents?
    The double standards of this administration are beyond belief!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. X-Man

    What a coward and a liar. We saw on television members of congress holding signs on the balcony of the house egging on the tea party people. At one point you can see a Republican member of congress holding an poster board with Pelosi's picture on it and gesturing in such a way as to pretend he was slapping her. How is that not fanning the flames? that's not showing leadership.

    Release the messages or shut up because it's just hearsay if there is no proof of the vandalism. In the incidents with the democrats the evidence is clear.

    Cantor is the one fanning the flames and not showing leadership. He should be ashamed of himself playing the Jewish card like that. I wonder what his mother would say.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sulayman F

    Oh this is silly. Cantor fans the tea party flames and now he blames Dems for the blowback?

    March 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    Rep. Cantor is such a hypocrite. First he only states that he does not condone violence, when he should be condemning violence in the strongest possible terms. In the past, many in his party have severely criticized Muslims for not strongly condemning the acts of Islamic terrorists. Why is it so difficult for him to condemn the actions of deranged people, no matter whether they are throwing bricks or bullets through Republican or Democratic windows? Is he afraid of offending his base?

    Secondly, he is so upset about Democrats using the news of vandalism against Democrats. He calls it "fanning the flames of violence". The violence was not started by the Representatives, they are the targets. Someone else has already whipped up the perpetrators. Has he listened to the rhetoric on talk radio? Has he listened to the rhetoric of "Kill the bill!" If he wants to defeat the bill, fine, but isn't using the word "kill" in highly emotional political battles also "fanning the flames of violence"? For him to worry about Democrats fanning the flames of violence is absurd in the face of what has been said by too many Republicans in and out of congress about many issues.

    I would suggest we all take a couple of deep breaths and try to agree that violence or threats against political opponents is way over the edge. Both sides should be condemning the acts of violent extremists. As Rep. Cantor has apparently experienced, not all violence will come from one side.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brent

    Well well well – look who suddenly realized that inciting your base to violence is a bad thing. Oddly, rather than sympathy, I'm feeling like he's getting what he deserves. The part that really makes me roll my eyes is where he says that you should keep the violence directed at you a secret (and work with the police)... so you don't incite even more violence. And yet here's an article about violence directed at him on CNN. Pot, meet kettle ...

    March 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jay

    I wonder how Democrats will react to Cantor's statement. Indeed, this type of violence should be condemned by both parties. But I really think the Democratic leaders, their drone followers, and the mainstream media were trying to insinuate that these awful acts were exclusive to Republicans and Tea Party groups.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ChicagoShawn

    It's despicable that this kind of thing happens, no matter what party the elected official is a member of. I'm not, particularly, a fan of either party (I don't like politicians in general) but the Democrats have a legitimate gripe here. The tea party movement has been pushing the violent rhetoric since it started. They are constantly talking about using guns and starting a new civil war. This isn't just from the extremists in the movement, it's also from the mainstream leaders.

    Whether you think they, originally, started he movement as a fake "grass roots" movement, or not, they have done everything they can to court the tea partyers by make their rhetoric as hot-headed and fear-inducing as possible (bogus stories about "death panels", etc.). Then, when this started to flare up yesterday they couldn't even make an honest condemnation of the violent threats Democrats were receiving. Instead, you saw Republican leader like John Boehner talking out of both sides of their mouths by starting out their statements with an apology but ending them saying how they "understand" why people are so angry/frustrated. When you do something like that, the two parts of your statement, effectively, cancel each other out and you are giving unspoken approval to continue on acting the same way.

    Honestly, I think the fact that the only person to have been shot at, so far, is a Republican is sheer coincidence. There are, certainly, whack-jobs on the Left that can be just as violent as the ones on the Right but they aren't the ones that have been whipped up into a violent frenzy over the last year. Considering that this guy is Jewish, it's, also, just as likely that this was the act of an extremist conservative with racist beliefs.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Amerfirst

    Kind of convenient isn't it! I can't condone violence as an answer to anything, but, if someone were stupid enough to retaliate with violence, then I would bet my last dollar that that person was reacting to being on the LOSING SIDE!! Why in the world would someone on the WINNING side have any reason to shoot out the loser's window? It just doesn't compute!!!
    With all the negative chatter over the recent Tea Party acts, the Republicans have been taking a serious HIT in the popularity polls. They have failed repeatedly to just come out and condemn these acts of violence; and as a result 'reasonable' people are getting annoyed with them.
    Even when they make pseudo-attempts to rein it in the acts, they STILL can't stop saying that the violence is REALLY JUSTIFIED and that it's the people's inalienable RIGHT to protest in the way that they are!!
    So, it seems to me, that one way to deflect some of this negative press would be to 'conveniently' have an act of violence perpetrated against youself! This may sound Machiavellian, but after watching the Republicans for the last thirteen months, I wouldn't put ANYTHING past them!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JR

    Enough already with the GOP hypocrisy! Not one single GOP leader has objected to the horrendous insults and slurs cast again President Obama at all the tea party rallies and meetings! The GOP has cheerfully observed, and in some cases even encouraged (Bachman!) the over-the-top hatred and threats of violence against our president and democratic members of Congress. So poor little Cantor now can't admit how he and his colleagues have brought this nonsense on; he rather blames the democrats for using what the GOP has fostered and nurtured all by themselves as political weapons! What a sore loser! What a stupid hypocrite! He and Beohner and the others uttterly shame this country!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mike from atlanta

    I don't believe a word that comes out of Cantors mouth.He's just trying to take attention away from the fact that he and his miscreant republican cronies have "fanned the flames" for the past year.All of a sudden he's worried about inciting violence.RIGHHHT!!!!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Indiana Dem

    Saying Democrats are fanning the flames of anger is another Republic slaughter of the truth. The Republicans have been using trying to incite anger with untruths about Obama and other Democrats since the 2008 campaign. They have been whipping up their supporters with insinuations and outright statements that Obama is not American, not a Christian, a Muslim, a supporter of terrorists, a Communist, a Nazi, etc. They have embraced and cheered on bithers, teabaggers, Fox News,and whoever else they think will help their side win. Sarah Palin is talking about "reloading". Glen Beck is talking about picking up guns and having a revolution. Rush Limbaugh has said too many ridiculous but inflammatory things to list. The Republicans love this stuff. They've embraced it. They've never asked any of these people to cool down their language or actions. Now they want to act like they own the high ground and ignore the fact that their own words, actions, and inaction have led many misinformed people to the brink of violence. The Republicans should be ashamed of themselves, but it seems they have no shame.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Leon-independent

    ohhhhh So now its a problem? Help clean up your own GOP from sparking the flames that are now turned on yourselves.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff in MN

    I expected a partisan spinster like Eric Cantor to try to turn the rancor of Conservatives into a Democratic issue. This guy is partially responsible for the recent rash of threats by whipping his right-wing followers into a frenzy over health care reform. By calling the newly-signed legislation socialist and telling his followers that it will ruin the nation, he has been inciting fear. Fear has been the go-to tool for conservatives for the past 20 years. And nothing breeds violence like fear.

    As for his account of shots fired, he has lied too many times for me to believe a story like this. If it really happened, it would have been reported earlier; not at this suspiciously opportune time. In fact, by insinuating that Liberals shot at his office, he is passive/aggressively trying to justify the violence of his own followers. He said, "Enough is enough. It has to stop." By lobbing accusations back, he is not urging his followers to stop. He is engaging in an ongoing game of tit-for-tat.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stu Strickler

    I don't condone threats to law makers. Law makers should be smart enough to know that this health care bill is a scam! If you were stupid enough to think people would be over joyed with it, your to stupid to be in Congress!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff

    You reap what you sow.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
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