The era of civility continues.
Conservative leaders began to step in Wednesday to try to quell the simmering controversy over House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt’s attack against Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack as a “pedophile pimp.”
While Bettencourt has apologized for his comments and was planning to meet privately with McCormack today, other GOP lawmakers have picked up the assault.
“This is one of those instances where no apology is necessary in my opinion,” he continued.
“Why should we kowtow to a corrupt hack of a Bishop?? I am usually very deferential and get along with people well, but the TRUTH is the TRUTH!! I don’t understand why any good Catholic would stand behind such a disgraceful man.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Andrew Manuse, R-Derry, said he would consider seeking legislation to strip the Catholic Church in New Hampshire of its tax-exempt status and accused McCormack of breaking the law by speaking out against the House budget last week.
Manuse backed off later, saying he has no plans to seek such legislation and said his comments were “completely overblown.”
Since Bettencourt made the comment, GOP State Chairman Jack Kimball has been one of the only leading Republicans to condemn it outright.
On Wednesday, Kimball spokeswoman Christine Baratta said House GOP lawmakers need to come to their senses in the wake of these latest outbursts.
“Many of our state representatives seem to have lost sight of the bigger picture and what Republicans were elected to do,” Baratta said in a statement.
“We have a fiscal crisis in this state, and last week the House served the taxpayers well and passed a responsible budget. The Democrats’ addiction to spending caused this budget outrage and now instead of taking responsibility for their behavior, they have created a climate of fear to falsely scare people and to distract voters from the enormous budget deficit brought on by the failed leadership of John Lynch and the Democrats.”
And: the Catholic League has issued a response.