Monday, November 21, 2005

'Mean Jean' Goes to Washington, and Invites a Firestorm

WASHINGTON (Nov. 19) - She grew up in the rough-and-tumble of a family auto racing business, went through concealed-weapons training, and bears a local nickname seldom applied to shrinking violets: "Mean Jean."

So when Representative Jean Schmidt, an Ohio Republican, created a furor on her 75th day in Congress by lobbing the word "coward" toward a Democratic war hero, those who know her best were anything but surprised.

Just this week, a profile in The Hill newspaper, which covers Congress, labeled her "gloriously uncensored." Back home in her suburban Cincinnati district, the Whistleblower, an online newsletter that tracks local politics, rushed out a special I-told-you-so issue calling the speech "vintage Jean Schmidt."

"We have said innumerable times that she would go to Washington and open her mouth and create an embarrassment," said Jim Schifrin, the newsletter's publisher. "She will say things that turn people off like nothing you've ever seen."

Among those seemingly turned off was Ms. Schmidt, who quickly asked that her words be withdrawn from the Congressional record, even as they made headlines worldwide.

The uproar arose Friday as the House debated a resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of forces from Iraq.

In scheduling the vote, Republicans were trying to embarrass Democratic critics of the war, forcing them to dissociate themselves from a call earlier in the week for a slower but still definite withdrawal. That call came from Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, a Vietnam combat veteran who spent 37 years in the Marines and is one of the most respected military authorities in the House.

Who voted for this insane bitch?

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