The teacher thought the perfect way to illustrate lines and angles was to explain where an assassin would aim to shoot the president.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland did not mince words Tuesday when he denied Eric Massa’s accusations that Hoyer and other Democrats forced him from the House because he had planned to vote against health care reform.
“That’s absurd. That’s absolutely untrue,” Hoyer said. “Definitively untrue.”
During an interview on a western New York radio station Sunday, Massa, a former Democratic congressman from New York, defended himself against rumors of sexual misconduct and lashed out at Hoyer and other Hill leaders.
“Mine is now the deciding vote on the health care bill,” he said on WKPQ. “And this administration and this Democratic leadership have said they will stop at nothing to pass this bill. Now they’ve gotten rid of me and it will pass. You connect the dots.”
Massa announced last week that he would retire from Congress at the end of his first term rather than run for re-election because he had a third cancer scare after two bouts of lymphoma. On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee confirmed that it had opened an investigation into allegations that the congressman sexually harassed a male staff member. A day later, Massa announced he would resign effective Monday, saying he is leaving not because he is guilty of an ethics violation, but because an investigation “would tear my family and my staff apart.”
Hoyer said several times that Massa’s contentions about the health care bill were unfounded. “It’s absolutely untrue — I want to reiterate it to you — that there was any relationship between actions and the health care bill. Period. Is anybody confused? Do I need to clarify that?”
He also said his office’s involvement in the matter, which sent a Massa staffer’s complaint against the former congressman to the Ethics Committee, was entirely at the staff level.
“A Massa staffer talked to one of my staffers. When I heard the information, my staffers asked what to do. I believed the issues being raised sounded to me serious. I therefore said the appropriate venue for dealing with these issues was the Ethics Committee, and my staffer then conveyed that to Mr. Massa’s staffer and said that if you don’t take action within 48 hours, we will.”
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs cited Massa’s allegations about the House leadership on Good Morning America. “I think this whole story is ridiculous,” Gibbs said. “Silly and ridiculous.”
By the afternoon, The Washington Post reported that Massa had been under investigation for at least a year for allegedly groping male staff members, a charge that goes well beyond what Massa called his use of “salty language” with staff when he announced he would resign. A source told the Post that the allegations against the former congressman exhibit “a pattern of behavior and physical harassment.”
Former Rep. Eric Massa appeared for the full hour on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program Tuesday afternoon, denying he groped anyone, but taking “full and complete responsibility for my misbehavior.”
Beck promised to give the former Democratic New York congressman a fair hearing and told his viewers he’d press Massa to shed light on a frequent Beck target — alleged corruption in the capital.
As the hour unfolded, Massa claimed to be both the victim of a Washington smear campaign and guilty of inappropriate behavior toward male members of his staff. He accused Rahm Emanuel of trying to intimidate him, but later apologized for saying the White House chief of staff would tie his own children to railroad tracks. “That was over the top,” he said.
Massa announced last week that he would retire from Congress at the end of his first term because he had a third cancer scare after two bouts of lymphoma. On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee confirmed that it had opened an investigation into allegations that the congressman sexually harassed a male staff member. A day later, Massa announced he would resign effective Monday, saying he is leaving not because he is guilty of an ethics violation, but because an investigation “would tear my family and my staff apart.”
Beck began the show by talking about the ethics allegations, which Massa said over the weekend were part of a smear campaign in retribution for his vote against health care reform — a charge hotly denied by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
But, Massa acknowledged to Beck, “I wasn’t forced out, I forced myself out. . . . I own this. I take full and complete responsibility for my misbehavior.”
Massa also responded to new details reported by The Washington Post that he had been under investigation for allegedly groping male staff members, not just for using “salty language,” as Massa had said before.
“Now they’re saying I groped a male staffer; yeah, I did,” Massa told Beck. “I tickled him until until he couldn’t breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me. It was ‘Kill the Old Guy.’ You can take anything out of context.”
To illustrate his point, he then presented Beck a yearbook from his Navy days with photographs of an initiation ceremony for sailors who crossed the equator for the first time, a ceremony which Massa has described as “grossly obscene.”
“It looks like an orgy in ‘Caligula,’ ” Massa told Beck.
“Did you ever grope anybody sexually?” Beck asked.
“No. No. No. No. No,” Massa insisted, explaining that he now feels he never fully made the transition from his Navy days to running a congressional office.
“They have tickle fights in the Navy?” Beck asked.
Beck also asked specific questions about Massa’s allegations of political corruption behind his ouster, but Massa provided no details. When Beck asked what people need to know about the system, Massa suggested that they call their members of Congress and demand better from their representatives, because he can’t change the system.
“Bull crap! Bull crap, sir!” Beck said angrily.
What seemed to perplex Beck the most, though, was Massa’s willingness to leave Congress so quickly when no charges against him have been proven.
“Your honor is at stake. I don’t buy the fact that you’re leaving over tickle fights,” Beck pressed.
Massa said he is not guilty of any criminal or sexually inappropriate behavior, but that he’s simply too tired to fight. “For 30 years I’ve been doing it. I can’t fight this. I can’t fight cancer. I can’t fight the White House. I can’t fight the Democratic Party. I can’t fight the Republicans. I can’t fight anymore.”
With few new details from Massa, Beck issued his verdict on Massa straight to his audience.
“America, I think I’ve wasted your time. I think this is the first time I have wasted an hour of your time and I apologize for that.”
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his fellow justices sat silently when President Obama singled out the high court for criticism in his State of the Union speech. But Roberts said Tuesday he was troubled by the jab at the court’s ruling that significantly altered a federal campaign finance law.
“The image of having the members of one branch of the government standing up, literally surrounding the Supreme Court, cheering and hollering, while the court, according to protocol, had to sit there expressionless, I think is very troubling,” Roberts told University of Alabama law students, according to The Associated Press. The scene in the House of Representatives felt like a “political pep rally,” he said. Roberts’ colleague, Samuel A. Alito Jr., shook his head after Obama’s remark and appeared to mouth the words “not true.” The other justices sat stoically.
The president had complained about a court ruling that permits corporations and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts of money on political advertising that explicitly supports or opposes candidates for federal office — a practice that had been prohibited.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, reacting to Roberts’ displeasure, fired back, “What is troubling is that the decision opened the floodgates for corporations and special interests to pour money into elections, drowning out the voices of average Americans.”
Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, struggling with the fact that 56 percent of voters see him unfavorably, holds narrow leads over an independent challenger and two Republicans vying for places on the ballot, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted March 8.
If health care executive Charlie Baker is the GOP candidate, as expected, Patrick leads him by 35 percent to 32 percent with Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill, the state treasurer, at 19 percent. Fourteen percent are undecided. The margin of error is 4.5 points. In November, Patrick led Baker by 5 points.
Baker is drawing the support of 57 percent of fellow Republicans but Patrick isn’t doing much better at 61 percent among Democrats. Cahill draws 29 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats. He leads among unaffiliated voters with 42 percent, followed by Baker at 22 percent and Patrick at 15 percent, with 20 percent undecided.
E-mails obtained by the FBI and congressional ethics investigators provide new evidence about Sen. John Ensign’s efforts to allegedly provide lobbying jobs for the husband of his former mistress, in violation of Senate rules, The New York Times reported late Wednesday.
Ensign (R-Nev.) asked a Las Vegas development company to hire the husband, Douglas Hampton, after the firm had requested the senator’s help on several energy projects in 2008, according to the e-mails.
Ensign had denied knowing the work might involve congressional lobbying but the e-mails apparently contradict that claim, according to the Times. It is the first written evidence tying the senator to efforts to find clients for Hampton after Ensign had an affair with his wife, Cynthia Hampton, the newspaper said.
Investigators are also examining a $96,000 payment Ensign’s parents made to Douglas Hampton, one of the senator’s closest friends and top aides.
“Senator Ensign has stated clearly, he has not violated any law or Senate ethics rule,” said Rebecca Fisher, the senator’s spokeswoman.
Ensign first admitted his affair with Cynthia Hampton in June 2009 after being prodded by Republican senators to end the affair.