Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter calls on Republican Party Chairman to Retract Statement

Today, CongresswomanCarol Shea-Porter released the following response to a recent press release by NewHampshire Republican Party Chair Fergus Cullen. In the release, Cullen alleges that in a recent speech Shea-Porter "question[ed] 'freedom and liberty' as American values worth fighting for." No such statement appears in her speech.

The Congresswoman called on the New Hampshire Republican Party to retract his statement and to apologize to the people of New Hampshire.

STATEMENT

It is outrageous that a political functionary, Fergus Cullen, has questioned my patriotism inverting and distorting my words in my recent speech on the Iraq war. This is a deliberate misrepresentation, and he demeans the democratic process and stains the reputation of his own party.

After listening to hours of debate on Iraq in the past few days, I  find it both ironic and deeply distressing that some politicians who continue to support the President's war, who stood silently while our troops went into battle without the proper equipment, and those who - in the vast majority - did not serve their country - are the same ones who use the sacred words "freedom" and "liberty" to paper over their own failures to provide oversight.

Most Americans understand that the President's war was a tragic mistake. It has enriched companies like Halliburton while burdening military families - who alone have born the burden of the President's poor judgment. This war has made our country far less secure and it has left Iraq in ruins. The financial cost is staggering, and it will burden every one of us, our children, and our children's children.

This week, Congress has finally begun the critical process of debating the war in Iraq.Those who have had the courage to speak against this war are fighting for freedom, for liberty, for our soldiers, and for the good of our country. They are demanding that this President end his horrible mismanagement of this war in Iraq. They are fighting to stop the escalation.

As a military spouse, I have the deepest respect for our soldiers and their families and I understand what they experience. Anyone who has served, or who has had a family member in the military, understands the meaning of courage.

When my colleagues and I speak on the floor, we are all aware of the possibility that some demagogue will distort what we say or even lie about us for partisan, personal gain. I am proud of the men and women in Congress who have had the courage to speak up anyway.

TRANSCRIPT - February 13th,2007

Ms. SHEA-PORTER. Madam Speaker, this is a very important debate. Four long years and we are searching our souls. We have sent our finest and our bravest soldiers on a mission that made no sense from the beginning. Our Nation was attacked by evil people who trained in Afghanistan.

We have a right to go into Afghanistanto remove the terrorist training camps. As a matter of fact, we should be working even harder there to make sure our Afghanistan mission does not fail.We must not allow the Taliban and other terrorist groups to control Afghanistanagain.

However,we are unable to give Afghanistan our full attention because our President has led us into a war with Iraq. Why?There are no Iraqis on the plane that day. The Iraqis had no weapons of mass destruction. And they never asked us to come to their country. They do ask us to leave, though. And yet we will not leave.

The President will not listen to the Iraqis. The President will not listen to the American people. The President will not listen to the world. But Congress will.We are ready to go in a new direction and say no to the President, and no to his plan to escalate this war.

I was a military spouse. I am very, very proud of my husband's service. I am also on the Armed Services Committee. I know our troops need our support and they have it. But troops also need to know that their leaders will make sure that their mission is in the best interests of the United States before they are asked to go fight and die for their country.

I watched a young soldier walk down a ramp on the way to Iraq. He was looking at all of us, and we were looking hard back at him. And I think most of us had the same thoughts in our hearts, that we could not look him in the eye and tell him that his mission was so essential to the security of the United States and the freedom of the world that he had to go and he had to die if necessary.

Why could we not tell him that? Because the mission had changed. Several times the President told us why we were there, and it was always a different reason. The mission had changed. And therefore the soldier looked confused and we certainly felt confused also, because we could not tell him why we were there.

I wanted to run up to him and tell him I support you, I support you by making sure that you never get sent to a war against unless we know why you are there.

What is this talk I have heard tonight about freedom and liberty? This talk of glory that I heard on the floor. This romanticized language, this talk about Davy Crockett. There is no Davy Crockett in Iraq. Our troops need clear-eyed leaders, not this romantic rabble that we have been hearing. This war has cost us. We have paid a terrible price.

Our military troops are strained. Yes, they are strained. Their families are strained. Our brave soldiers have died or they have been injured. The Iraqis have lost their lives. They have lost their society. They have lost their infrastructure. They are losing their middle class who are moving to other countries to keep their children safe.

Their people are fleeing from their own country. We are wary, they are wary, the world is now more dangerous. Iraqis were polled and the majority of them said they wanted the Americans to go home and let them work out their problems. For 4 years the administration and its supporters here have made no plan for them to do that.

Now they ask us on this side of the aisle what our plan is. This is a strange question. But it shows how confused this administration's supporters are, if they are looking to us and ask us what our plan is. They have been offered plans. They even commissioned a plan, and they do not follow any plans. The President follows his own way.

We have offered plans. They will not listen. I for one want the United States to succeed in this world. Therefore, I am going to listen to all of the generals who have pled with the President and pled with the President's supporters in this administration to do the right thing here.

But the President does not listen. Now, I am going to vote to tell the President that I am against his escalation.