San Diego GOP Rep. Darrell Issa was under siege for suggesting the federal government had already done enough to help New York cope with "a fire" that "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center.
"That is a pretty distorted view of things," said Frank Fraone, a Menlo Park, Calif., fire chief who led a 67-man crew at Ground Zero. "Whether they're a couple of planes or a couple of missiles, they still did the same damage."
"New York was attacked by Al Qaeda. It doesn't have to be attacked by Congress," added Long Island Rep. Pete King, a Republican.
"I'm really surprised by Darrell Issa," King added. "It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It's wrong and inexcusable."
Lorie Van Aucken, who lost her husband, Kenneth, in the attacks, slammed Issa's "cruel and heartless" comments.
"It's really discouraging. People stepped up and did the right thing. They sacrificed themselves and now a lot of people are getting really horrible illnesses," she added.
Under pressure from all sides, the Golden State pol - who got rich selling car alarms after getting busted for car theft as a teen - pulled a partial U-turn. He issued a statement but cowered from the press.
"I continue to support federal assistance for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks," he said.
But he didn't retract his wacked-out rhetoric claiming the feds "just threw" buckets of cash at New York for an attack "that had no dirty bomb in it, it had no chemical munitions in it."
He went on: "I have to ask ... why the firefighters who went there and everybody in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state consideration."
In his statement yesterday, Issa insisted he only "asked tough questions about the expenditures" during a hearing Tuesday on an aid bill for sick New Yorkers.
"He realized he stepped in it," said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), who was leading the hearing when Issa popped off.
"The sound I'm hearing is him slamming the brakes and going in reverse," crowed Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn-Queens). Issa also belatedly admitted 9/11 was "an attack on America" in his statement.
It shouldn't have been that hard.
He took to the floor of Congress on Sept. 11, 2001, to argue passionately that America - not just New York - had been attacked, but conveniently forgot that during his Tuesday diatribe.
"It seems that with the passage of time, something happened along the way where the scope of the problem and the real extent of the problem has not drifted out to California," fumed Staten Island GOP Rep. Vito Fossella.
Health officials estimate it could cost $1 billion to care properly for the ailments that may emerge in the people who lived through the horror of Sept. 11 or breathed that toxic dust.
Interestingly enough, the same right-wing that went into histrionics over the "Betrayus" ad has been strangely silent on Issa's remarks. And so too is the traditional media. There's absolutely nothing on his despicable comments about this on CNN at all, neither on their website nor on the channel itself. Fox News ran the wire story about this on their website, but I haven't seen one mention of this on the actual channel itself. The only mention on MSNBC was from Keith Olbermann's show, where he gave Issa Worst Person in the World Hall of Fame honors.
Now for those who say Issa actually has a point in regards to federal vs. state funding, OK, but then, why did Issa in the same week he made those comments trumpet his list of $26.8 million worth of earmarks for San Diego? Sure, some look to be deserving projects, but why, given his opinions, should they be funded by the federal government?
As Steve Benen suggests, what if a Democrat had made those comments about denying first responders and victims' families federal funds? Even with the Obama-Clinton primary coverage, you can bet that piece of news would've been plastered on the front of every single cable news show for the next five days. But, if you're a Republican? Eh, gets buried. Maybe mentioned once. Never mentioned again. I mean, how many of you reading this right now even knew Issa had made such despicable comments at all?
FYI, Issa's Democratic opponent in November is UCLA grad and former Naval officer Robert Hamilton.