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Snow Defends Boehner: He Was ‘Asking Tough Questions’

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"Snow Defends Boehner: He Was ‘Asking Tough Questions’"

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On Tuesday, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) questioned whether his political opponents are “more interested in the rights of terrorists than protecting the American people.” During yesterday’s White House press conference, Tony Snow appeared to distance himself from Boehner’s remarks.

But this morning on ABC, Snow offered a lengthy defense of Boehner’s caustic remarks. Snow said that Boehner’s statement was “one of these hypotheticals” that raises the question “OK, what do you want to do for security?” According to Snow, Boehner’s remarks highlighted legitimate “issues.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2006/09/snowboehner.320.240.flv]

UPDATE: On CNN, Snow said that Boehner was “musing and he was asking tough questions.”

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Transcript:

ROBERTS: Who’s going to keep us safe? That’s something that Americans want to know. And it does get a little contentious at times. The Democrats are very upset over House Majority Leader John Boehner for the comments that he made recently saying that Democrats were soft on terrorism and terrorists. I want to play a bit of his soundbite and get your reaction to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER, HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER (R-OH): Sometimes, based on the votes that get cast, you wonder whether they’re more interested in the rights of the terrorists than in protecting the American people.

ROBERTS: Are Democrats more interested in the rights of terrorists than protecting the American people? Of course, Democrats are a little outraged about that. Does the president agree with a statement like that? The White House agree with that?

SNOW: Well, we tend not to vet statements of members of the House and Senate. We just pointed out they’ve got their own ways of doing things.

But it’s interesting — what he was really talking about, and it was one of these hypotheticals. And, I know — I understand why people get upset about it. But one of the things he was doing is raising the question, OK, what do you want to do for security? Do you believe in listening in on terrorists? What do you think about the terrorist surveillance program?

The president asked for cooperation on that. How about what we do with people detained on the battlefield? How do we proceed to hold them in conditions that are acceptable to the American people, to question them, to get intelligence so that we can glean intelligence that’s going to save American lives? The president last week asked both parties go ahead and step up and help out in those things. So Representative Boehner was raising those issues.

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