Betty McCollum hammers Michele Bachmann

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after Timothy McVeigh's act of anti-government terrorism.
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building after Timothy McVeigh's act of anti-government terrorism.

U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum raised eyebrows last week when she took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to ask certain unnamed colleagues to cool their overheated right-wing rhetoric as the nation prepares to remember the anti-government terrorist attack by Timothy McVeigh that killed 168 innocent people in Oklahoma City.

McVeigh struck on this date in 1995. He was executed for his murderous act in 2001.

As we've said, the District 4 congresswoman's call for civility was greeted with anger from some on the right.

"Outrageous" howled Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, of Oklahoma. "Deeply offensive."

McCollum refuses to stand down. When Michele Bachmann tarred the Democrats again last week of running a "gangster government" gangster government, McCollum called sent out this press release:

St. Paul, MN - Today, Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL-MN04) responded to Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN06) ongoing anti-government campaign by calling it "irresponsible" and again warned that this type of harsh and exaggerated political rhetoric can inspire violent political extremists. Yesterday, while addressing a Tea Party protest near the U.S. Capitol, Bachmann smeared President Obama and his administration by referring to them as "gangster government."

McCollum said of Bachmann's inflammatory remarks, "With hate groups and violent anti-government militias on the rise in this country elected leaders must be mindful of the potential of their words to inspire violence. Constructive, passionate political debate is expected in our democracy, but harsh, dangerous name-calling that vilifies the President or Members of Congress is irresponsible." McCollum added, "We must not ignore that the Oklahoma City bombing was an act of political violence perpetrated by deranged, anti-government extremists. It's much too late after a bomb goes off to start condemning hate-inspired, violent rhetoric."

Bachman told a crowd of anti-government Tea Party protesters, "We're on to them; we're on to this gangster government." She added, "I'd say it's time for these little piggies to go home." Bachmann's rhetoric elicited a harsh rebuke from President Bill Clinton. While speaking on the subject of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, Clinton cautioned that attempts to incite government opposition can provoke destructive consequences and responded to Bachmann by saying, "They are not gangsters. They were elected."

Yesterday's inflammatory comments from Congresswoman Bachmann were only the latest in a series of disturbing calls to action.

"I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back."

"[Health care reform] cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn't pass."

Rep. Bachmann's comments come on the heels of Rep. McCollum's statement this week on the floor of the House of Representatives, which asked Members of Congress to stop using specific rhetoric that could incite and fuel violence from anti-government extremists.

More on Clinton, and his admonishment of another overheated right-winger, from ABC's Jake Tapper:

Clinton marked the upcoming 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on Friday with a major speech to the Center for American Progress, in which he warned that "the words we use really do matter, because there's this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike."

Conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh took to the air, Friday, after the speech and said that Clinton's remarks, which drew parallels between the anti-government sentiment in the mid-90s and present-day anti-government expressions, "just gave the kooks out there an excuse to be violent."

Responding directly to Limbaugh, Clinton told me, "The only point I tried to make was that we ought to have a lot of political dissent -- a lot of political argument. Nobody is right all the time. But we also have to take responsibility for the possible consequences of what we say. "

It's all a big joke to Bachmann. "Because I'm using a statement like 'gangster,' I'm responsible for creating the climate of hate that could lead to another Timothy McVeigh and another Oklahoma City bombing."She told a Chicago Tea Party," told a Tea Party gathering in Chicago. Here's the video. Clinton's comments come in at about 1 min. 30 sec.

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