Skip to comments.Reps Tancredo, Gutierrez engage in nasty exchange
Posted on 03/16/2006 1:12:11 PM PST by dennisw
WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tom Tancredo and an Illinois congressman traded charges of racism during a heated confrontation following a televised appearance Wednesday on immigration reform, both their congressional offices confirmed today. Tancredo and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., are frequent sparring partners on the talk show circuit as Congress works to pass some version of immigration reform. Tancredo is a leading advocate of tougher enforcement against illegal immigrants and people who hire them. Gutierrez, the son of Mexican immigrants, calls Tancredo's approach "ugly policy" motivated by racism.
On Wednesday, they appeared together on CNBC, and when the cameras stopped rolling the debate continued with a spat first reported by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.
Gutierrez's office claims that Tancredo aggressively continued the discussion off camera and tried to slow Gutierrez as he was trying to reach the elevator.
Tancredo spokesman Will Adams, who was present, said it was Gutierrez who was the aggressor, hurling comments and, before it was over, saying he thought about hitting Tancredo.
The words exchanged are in little dispute, based on this account in Roll Call:
At one point, Gutierrez reportedly asked Tancredo if he had ever eaten in a restaurant.
"How could you eat from the plates touched by those nasty illegal immigrants?" Gutierrez said.
He then asked Tancredo: "Have you ever eaten an orange? A grape," an apparent reference to illegal farm workers. He then repeated the phrase several times as Tancredo tried to answer. "An orange, a grape, an orange, a grape, an orange a grape."
Gutierrez, who has a cast on a foot, reportedly tried to walk to the elevator, but Tancredo tried to stop him by putting his hand on his shoulder. Gutierrez reportedly demanded: "Get your hand off me!"
Adams said Tancredo had done little more than tap him on the shoulder.
Gutierrez said to Tancredo: "You racist! You bigot!"
Tancredo told Gutierrez: "You look in the mirror if you want to see a racist."
Gutierrez and staff members finally got on the elevator, while Tancredo and his team took the stairs.
When they met again on the first floor, Gutierrez told his staff, "Better hurry up -- the KKK is coming," according to Roll Call. He accused Tancredo of following him, although Adams said they simply needed to use the same exit because Tancredo's office is across the street.
Just outside, Gutierrez said to aides within Tancredo's earshot: "I thought about hitting him, but then I thought, 'What if I (expletive) kicked his ass,'" the newspaper reported.
"To say this is unbecoming of a Congressman doesn't go far enough," Adams said. "This is unbecoming of an adult." Asked if Tancredo wanted an apology, Adams said, "It would be nice if he apologized. We're not expecting that from somebody who threatens to beat people up."
Asked if Gutierrez wanted an apology, spokesman Scott Frotman said, "He's not going to ask Mr. Tancredo for an apology, but Mr. Tancredo may think about apologizing to all the immigrants that he scapegoats and ridicules."
ILLEGALS are not IMMIGRANTS!
They know it. The Dims know it. We know it.
Round them up....send them back.
What class these guys have. We should all be proud.
Cool! Wish they had it on video!
BTW Guiterrez: Tancredo is the son of Italian immigrants.
I watched the exchange on CNBC today. Tancredo was not the nasty one. Gutierrez is a slimy little punk and acted like it. He would not answer the question and kept giving snide looks at Tancredo.
Someone needs to write another - Congress of Boors.
Looks like Gutierrez will never be accused of being a mental giant.
Name calling is a specialty of the Rat party. It's much easier to throw labels then actually engage in debate.
Guiterrez is a typical pandering pol.
And Tom Tancredo is to immigration reform what Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson are to Christianity -- the sort of spokesman the other side loves.
Sure would be nice if folks would send grown-ups to Washington....
Yep..it really was The D who was crazy not Tom...
Gutierrez is a little punk.
He's also a loudmouth self-promoter who does more harm than good in the area of immigration policy.
Sounds to me like Tancredo acted with commendable restraint considering the circumstances. I like him--he's one of the few congresscritters who strongly supports enforcing the laws against illegal immigration.
Gutierrez, on the other hand, sounds like a typical democrat: "Let's pretend the issue is race, instead of what it really is, since my real position is politically, legally, and morally indefensible."
Liberals will discuss issues for about thirty seconds, and then start calling you names.
Or start randomly reciting the names of fruits and vegetables. "A kumquat! A pomegranate! A rutabega!"
My money is on that version.
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