It was just a matter of time before Hartmann's hothouse rhetoric become a bit overheated even for him. That day came yesterday, after he derided House Speaker John Boehner as guilty of "manslaughter" for his role in the partial government shutdown, followed by Hartmann describing Boehner as "a killer." (Audio clips after the jump)
Several minutes later, a partially penitent Hartmann apologized for his remarks. As you might expect, the mea culpa came with a catch.
First, here's a clip of Hartmann's initial comments (audio) --
The Speaker of the House has the legal ability under the rules of the House to prevent the House from voting on any piece of legislation, including the legislation that will continue the government funding. John Boehner has made the decision, the intentional decision, to not allow his own Republicans to vote on whether or not the United States government should continue operating. And I say to you (addressing a caller who accused him of being too harsh toward Republicans), if you think that 'extremist' and 'terrorist' and 'hostage taking' are extreme words, I say to you that John Boehner is guilty of, of, of manslaughter, that he is a killer. Take it to the bank.
After a commercial break that gave him time to think it over, Hartmann retracted his remarks but with a caveat (audio) --
So I just called John Boehner a killer. You know, it's probably -- it's not just probably -- that's over the top language. I apologize, to you and to John Boehner. However, the story is true (referring to an anecdote told by Hartmann earlier in the show) and I think it's what got me so worked up. My future son-in-law just died after going through standard chemotherapy for leukemia, it didn't work and then enrolling in a clinical trial. He and my daughter had to fly out to Chicago from Portland and stay in this hospital, you know, just this whole thing. And I watched him die. I mean, I wasn't there when he actually died died, but Louise and I were there many times during the course of his dying of leukemia. (Hartmann mentioned earlier in the show that the young man died four months ago).
And there are children in these clinical trials and these clinical trials are being suspended and Boehner had to have known that stopping the government would lead to the death of some of these people. And there are others as well, there are the more subtle effects. Go back and look at the, go into the Google machine or the DuckDuckGo machine and just type in, more conservatives, more suicides under conservative rule and BBC in 2002 and you can read the article, hundred-year long study. Cut back on government programs, you know, when conservatives are in power and people fall through the social safety net and crash, they don't have access to things like unemployment insurance, suicides go up. Families fall apart. I mean, this is serious stuff.
The reason I'm apologizing for calling John Boehner a killer is not because I'm walking back the statement that his actions may well and in fact almost certainly are leading to the death of human beings, because I believe that they are, but rather that it's inflammatory rhetoric as the caller pointed out when he called me and said we're all Americans and he's right. And I've had five minutes to think about it now.
In other words, an apology for saying aloud what he firmly believes.
My condolences to Mr. Hartmann and his family for their loss.