Last winter, Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandia, made a name for herself by comparing food stamp recipients to wild animals in a video posted on the House Republican's YouTube channel.
The comparison was quickly condemned by nearly everyone on both sides of the aisle, and Franson, after some initial defiance, apologized for her comments, tweeting: "For those offended at the video, I deeply apologize. I have asked for the video to be taken down."
But in a recent speech before a Tea Party rally in Browerville, Franson sure left onlookers with the impression that her apology fell somewhere short of sincere.
[jump] During her speech, Franson first recounts her food stamp recipient-wild animal comparison and discusses some of the blowback she received afterward. Then, she pivots to defending her controversial comments, saying, "We have to get backbones, you guys."
Here's a transcript of how she closed her speech:
I received death threats over [the food stamp-wild animal] comments. I received 2,500 petitions for me to apologize for my comments, and also I received numerous requests for me to resign immediately.Check out the video of Franson's speech for yourself:
Well, that didn't happen, and I'm more determined than ever to win this race because I see the entitlement programs, they're getting bigger. Today apparently President Obama said, 'Who cares about the welfare reform that was done in '95 until Bill Clinton, because there is going to be no work requirements, it's going to be up to the states to decide.' We have 80 billion dollars worth of food benefits that the government doesn't have any idea what it's being spent on. We have people that don't want to work anymore. We have people that are going for interviews to jobs and actually telling those they are interviewing with, 'Well, my unemployment may be extended so I guess that I'll just stay home instead of taking this job.'
Fifty-one percent are paying taxes today compared to 85 percent [of Americans] in 1995. This is unsustainable and soon we're going to have more people not paying taxes than are paying taxes. We have to get backbones, you guys. We have to be strong and we can't keep cowering to the left because of what they may say, or [because you may be] heckled. Because if I can stand up to some death threats, and if I can stand out there in St. Paul for you, then we all need to get together and take on the left before they destroy us from the inside out.
"We all need to get together and take on the left before they destroy us from the inside out"? Apparently, Franson takes that whole 'politics is war' thing pretty literally.
The Bemidji Pioneer got some reaction from Zach Rodvold, the DFL House campaign director, who pointed out the irony of Franson, the Minnesota House Representative for one of the state's poorest districts, taking a draconian stance on poverty. "A recent study showed that 21 percent of children in Todd County, where part of her district is located, are living in poverty and that 13.5 percent receive food stamps," Rodvold said in an email.
Franson, a first-term legislator who recently filed a restraining order Eric Harpel, her ex-boyfriend and the chair of the McLeod County MNGOP, is being challenged this November by DFL-endorsee Bob Cunniff, a veteran public school teacher from Alexandria.