Emanuel Cleaver Backpedals on Tea Party Spit Claim

Is it okay to call Cleaver a liar yet?

From WDAF Fox 4 in Kansas City:

The video is not clear as to whether or not the man spit in Cleaver’s face intentionally, or if it was a matter of “say it, don’t spray it.” Rep. Cleaver never commented on the incident, but it didn’t take long before many people claimed that he was spit upon.

In an interview on Tuesday with FOX 4 News, Rep. Cleaver would not directly answer the question of whether or not he was intentionally spit upon.

“I haven’t talked about this incident on TV or anywhere, and I’ve been approached to talk about it on every national TV show,” said Rep. Cleaver in an interview with FOX 4 News. “I never, I never reported anything, never a single thing in Washington, not one thing. People assume I went somewhere, never done press conference, never done an interview on it and I’m not going to do it.”


Rep. Cleaver is standing his ground on the incident. He says that if the spitting incident hadn’t been caught on tape, no one would have ever known because he wouldn’t have made it an issue.

“What ever they say is fine with me, I’m not going to get into the issue,” said Rep. Cleaver. “I didn’t even plan to have it known by anybody.”

Okay, here goes. Emanuel Cleaver is a liar. Here’s how the Politico reported the initial event:

A spokesman for Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement Saturday evening confirming earlier second-hand reports that the Congressman had been spit on, and again equating the health care bill with the civil rights movement …

“This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the other Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care. After all the Members were safe, a full report was taken and the matter was handled by the US Capitol Police. The man who spat on the Congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol Police.”

And here’s the Washington  Post report on the initial event:

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement late Saturday saying that he was spit upon while walking to the Capitol to cast a vote, leading the Capitol Police to usher him into the building out of concern for his safety. Police detained the individual, who was then released because Cleaver declined to press charges.

“The congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The congressman would like to thank the U.S. Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the other Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care,” said Danny Rotert, a spokesman for Cleaver.

And Weasel Zippers is kind enough to point us to the initial coverage at the Huffington Post, which pretty much says the same thing.

Note to self: if I ever have something that I don’t want known by everyone, it may be best to not issue an official statement on it.

For anyone who still hasn’t seen it, the video of the alleged spitting incident, which is very clearly the case of Cleaver getting to close to someone yelling too enthusiastically:

Moe Lane at Red State slams Cleaver for his initial slander and following backpedal:

So now Rep. Cleaver doesn’t people talking about it; and now he wants to act like he was never involved in this issue in the first place. Can’t say I’m surprised. Can’t say that I’m surprised that he doesn’t want to lay any blame at the feet of the DNC’s would-be race-hate demagogues, either…

Left Coast Rebel also comments:

I am going to wait for the hundreds, if not thousands of retractions from top media outlets in the nation on this. He wasn’t spit on and he knew it all along. How disgusting that he would let this go on and on and not correct it. It is this kind of behavior that makes the nation that much more disaffected by politics and corruption. He deserves to be Rep. Emanuel deserves the worst in the world for this.

Apparently Cleaver had already backed off of the claim somewhat — this is just his more firm disavowal of saying what he very plainly said. And the people on the left who want to believe this – including the media – are going to gloss over this recanting of the spitting claim and continue to hold it as gospel truth.

Jack Cashill at the American Thinker criticizes the general reporting of the whole alleged racism incident at the DC Tea Party, and questions how much of the initial report was pre-written:

According to Farrell, they left the Cannon Building about 2:30 PM on March 20th and returned about 3:15 PM.  He had no reason to exaggerate.

I asked because at 4:51 that same day, McClatchy reporter William Douglas posted an article on the McClatchy website with the inflammatory headline, “Tea party protesters scream ‘nigger’ at black congressman.”

In other words, Douglas, with an attributed assist from James Rosen, managed to interview representatives John Lewis, Emanuel Cleaver, and Barney Frank, compose an 800-word article, and have it edited and formatted for posting within a 90-minute window.

During that same 90 minutes, Douglas would have received and incorporated a press release from Emanuel Cleaver, making the easily disproved claim that he had “been spat upon and that Capitol Police had arrested his assailant.”

Only two possibilities present themselves, neither of them good: Douglas had started writing this enormously consequential article in advance and/or he assembled it with a reckless indifference to the facts.  A simple call to the Capitol Police would have killed the spitting story and a review of the video footage would have thrown the screaming of “nigger” by multiple “protestors” into such serious doubt that no responsible paper would have printed it.

The whole thing was bunk. It was nothing but a massive, slanderous hit against the Tea Party. And the media were wholly complicit.


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  1. #1 by rgunther on Sat 03 Apr 2010 - 18:51

    The left is trying to instigate events to “prove” their absurd claim the Tea Partiers are uncouth thugs. To the left, the end justifies the means. Lying is no problem.


  2. #2 by Tyler on Sun 22 Aug 2010 - 21:48

    I guess if you repeat something often enough it might become the facts. This video shows nothing except that Emanuel Cleaver is a liar.

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