ORLANDO, Fla. - Outspoken congressman Alan Grayson is at it again, lobbing rhetorical grenades at Tea Party supporters in an attempt to raise cash for his reelection campaign.
This time, he is trumpeting a statement he made last week on MSNBC, claiming "the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan."
In case those getting his fundraising email failed to notice the statement, he illustrates it with a photo of a burning cross, using the T-shape to begin spelling out "Tea Party" above two hooded Klansmen.
Grayson's statement comparing the popularity of the Tea Party and the Klan was, of course, hyperbole. The Tea Party has a 14 percent favorable rating; about 0.002 percent of Americans are Klan members.
But in a statement to Local 6, Grayson (D-Florida) does not express any regret for conflating right-wing Republicans with domestic terrorist who shot, lynched and exploded bombs killing thousands of African Americans and others.
"Members of the Tea Party have engaged in relentless racist attacks against our African-American President,' Grayson wrote. "There is overwhelming evidence that the Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation. If the hood fits, wear it."
Jason Hoyt, a Tea Party activist in West Orange County, was not amused. "Alan Grayson is a disgrace to the United States Congress and I'm confident his appearance on Al Sharpton's show did nothing to change the minds of either of his television viewers," he said, referring to the low ratings of the MSNBC host who interviewed Grayson.
Grayson returned to Congress this year from a new district after being voted out from his old district in the Tea Party wave of 2010.
He lost that election to now-Rep. Dan Webster (R-Florida) after airing an ad calling his opponent "Taliban Dan" and taking a Webster quote out of context to argue Webster would impose his "fundamentalist" beliefs on citizens.
Grayson made national headlines during his first term when, in September 2010, he stood on the House floor and described the Republicans' health care plan as "don't get sick. … If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."
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