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. Jim

    So according to Cantor, Republicans attack Democrats in a violent way, the Democrats speak publicly about the danger and its the Dems fault?!? By that logic, its the Dems fault for the Iraq war, the financial meltdown and global warming.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GJ

    House Republicans fanned the flames of violence and over-the-top protesting by extremists and everyone knows it. They applauded illegal disruptions in the House chamber, encouraged mobs outside the capitol, and yelled "baby killer" during the debate. Now the bullies are crying because they don't like being treated the way they treated other people? Please. Cantor is right in one regard: it all needs to stop. But that does not mean forgetting who brought us to this point.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Blizz Mountain

    I'm certainly not condoning violence. However, I think that it's time that our government wake up to these warning shots being fired across the bow. Every day, I'm hearing more news about negative sentiment towards our government. We even have state Attorney Generals filing suits against the Federal Government. Americans are fed up, not with just the health care bill, but the the way our country is being run into the ground. Trillions of dollars spent on bailouts and other misguided spending, none of which trickled down to the average American, most of which stayed in the hands of those whose greed caused the problem. We are not the wealthiest strongest nation in the world – how can we be if we have the largest debt in the world ? Civil unrest is brewing, the average American feels that they have little power to change things through the 'democratic' process. There are enough people who lost their jobs and homes, through no fault of their own, with dismal prospects for a recovery any time soon. There is an entire 'class' of people in America, that are so fed-up, that feel they have nothing to loose at this point, that they may feel they need to take more extreme measures in order to institute badly needed change in America. The point I'm trying to make is – don't be fooled into believing that these incidents are just a few 'crazy extremists". It may start out that way, but they are acting out the sentiment of a growing population of upset Americans. It pains me to see this happen – so wake up Washington ! Start serving the people of America, which is your charter!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bayonett

    Agreed, Eric Cantor, it has to stop. Funny that it should upset you now that it's happening to you and not your colleagues . . . but, agreed, fomenting a polarized, hostile social and political climate, should indeed stop. (One might argue it should have never started in the first place.)

    I for one would fully support your *working together* with your colleagues of all political persuasions, showing some respect and decorum toward one another–not to mention toward those whom you allegedly serve–to address this issue as well as so many, many, many others.

    Heck, maybe you might even turn your attention to gun control . . .

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john limoli

    Are you kidding me! I can believe how far this group of Republican Senators will go to forward their political lives...and agenda. This time in history is unlike any other. So lets not be fooled by politicians who compare this time in history with others..The political climate in this country is becoming that of a media civil war. Believe me when I say I'm not a person who writes into these blogs, but I really feel something bad is afoot here...I sincerly hope all these media outlets and politicians realize this before one day were visited by tourists taking pictures of our ruined civilazation...

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim, Burbank, CA

    This is so absolutely unbelievably childish - trying to downplay DOCUMENTED attacks on Democrats with "threats" that are obviously completely phony.

    He won't publicly release the threats "out of concern that doing so would only incite further violence." What a crock! I'd be willing to bet continuing Democratic control of the House and Senate that none of this is true. None of it.

    And then he has the unmitigated GALL to accuse Democrats of fomenting violence against Republicans! How? When? Where?

    Cantor and the rest of the Rethuglicans make me absolutely sick to my stomach. They have no interest in governing, only throwing childish temper tantrums and obstructing President Obama, Democrats and American progress BY ANY MEANS. They'll stop at nothing to try to regain lost power - power lost in a Democratic election!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan

    Looks like the only way Republicans could justify joining the calls for non-violence was to fall victim to violence themselves. I also hope, for Cantor's sake, that this wasn't a desperate self-infliction of violence to make it seem like the Tea-Party movement (or people who identify as such) is not the only group resorting to violence.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Something to hold on to.

    You know.......... I am so tired of this 'them against us' mentality.
    That's what I feel our politicians are doing. Dragging fellow Americans along.....
    Rather than 'we all come together for the betterment of man{womyn}kind.
    All this meanness, and immaturity surfacing in our Congress, House, and in the media.
    Does anyone else feel we have strayed FAR from original roots.
    Life use to be so much easier. There was right and there was wrong, and you chose which side to be on.
    Now everything has an innuendo, or a hidden agenda. ALL politicians are untrustworthy, and seem only to do things to get reelected....NOT follow their heart.
    I am a good judge of character usually, but in todays world..... I haven't a clue anymore!!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brad Lorenz

    Get your stories straight. CNN is, and always has been, very clearly a liberal outlet in the media. You are garnering support for the democrats by eliciting sympathy for their abuses by PURPORTED leftists. Particularly, the "cut gas line" at the home of a congressman's brother was on the line running from his propane tank to his gas grill. By failing to include that massively significant detail, it is easy to assume that the gas line to his home was cut – which would present an immensely greater risk. Moreover, how many of these vandalisms on democrats are mere coincidences. Vandalisms happen every day to varying degrees in my neighborhood in relatively peaceful central Minnesota.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bbarth

    wheres the evidence of this?

    at least in the other instances theres actual evidence of mischief/menace.

    "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.""

    Kettle, meet Eric Cantor.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Keith from Wisconsin

    Both parties have worked hard to release the genie from the bottle. They have awaken the sleeping giant and ticked it off. I truely hope there is no one that gets hurt. However, as seen in Iran peaceful protests can still lead to violence.

    They need to come together and make a better America.

    One bill one item. Adding rape legislation to a military funding bill is wrong. They are both needed legislation and should be kept seperate.

    We need to control health care costs, but not with a government takeover of Insurance paying the same old inflated costs. Food. Adding chemical additives to fool human senses into liking something is wrong. Taxes should be laden on unhealthy foods with the money strictly for health care to help those who have been hurt by such additives.

    The finance industry needs to be broken up like Ma Bell was, no 'to big to fail' companies. They need to learn from the past and return Glass-Stegal. Keep deposits seperate from speculation.

    They need campaign reform. Anyone can donate as much as they like to a pool. But that pool is shared by all candidates so there are no lobbyists or debts owed by elected officials to any orginization who donated. Vote the issues not the spin.

    Immigration. We do not need reform. You want in you file from your country and go through the existing process. Illegals here equal unemployment. Remove them and give everyone who belongs here a job that pays a living wage and benefits. Should you move here legally and pay into the benefits pool, like our forefathers did, you get the benefits after investing in the system. Those who hire illegals should have their company repossesed and sold to pay for the costs of existing illegals.

    Free trade is a wealth drane. There should be cap-n-trade on imports/exports. Outsourcing to countries that are burning fuel and adding CO2 should be treated as if it were done here in America. Remeber there is only one atmosphere and the whole world shares it.

    Energy. Invest in our future. Assist with seed money in renewables while we build nuclear power plants.

    Environment. I do not care if we are adding to climate change or not. Pollution is just plane wrong. Recycling, clean water and emmisions is a global problem.

    Schools should tell the truth and not revision things to their liking.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JC

    Wait. Are you telling its not OK for someone to directly or indirectly take someone else's life? By shooting someone or not providing healthcare when they desperately needs one, especially when they were promised ahead? Thats weird, because I could have swore you decided on one of those. Hmmm...

    March 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Virginia

    Republicans and Fox News are responsible for encouraging those fringe lunatics to violence. Even during the presidential campaign, McCain and Palin were allowing their followers to recite any outrageous lie and never corrected them. Only when that old woman called Obama an Arab did John McCain correct her and that was near the end of the campaign. Even now, Palin is calling for her followers to "reload". What does that imply? If the republicans and empty talking heads on Fox and the rabble rousers on public radio don't stop this, we will soon see armed confilict right here in this country. People will put up with this for so long and then start fighting back.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ted

    I am against any use of violence, but I am not suprised to see it. The people have tried voting them out of office, writing letters, protest, petitions, etc etc. But the only thing that seems to work, is when it gets personal.

    Most Americanst wated health care reform, but the one voted in is not acceptable. Itmakes an attack on freedom which is what this country is based on, A week ago Americans had the freedom to chos not to have health insurance; now they don't.

    Figure it out.

    March 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Debora

    Are you kidding me. This type of violence and threatening is not acceptable to anyone, under any circumstances. BUT come on ERIC CANTOR – to say that the democrats are responsible for inciting this because they have spoken out. Ridiculous. BE A LEADER and denounce this crap that has been directly tied to the republican party and their supporters. Now you want to deflect responsibilty and accountability. I'm so embarrassed by this and you should too!

    March 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
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