So transparent a lie is this that I don’t know how to read it except as a tacit admission that he wasn’t, in fact, deliberately spat on.

In an interview on Tuesday with FOX 4 News, Rep. Cleaver would not directly answer the question of whether or not he was intentionally spit upon.

“I haven’t talked about this incident on TV or anywhere, and I’ve been approached to talk about it on every national TV show,” said Rep. Cleaver in an interview with FOX 4 News. “I never, I never reported anything, never a single thing in Washington, not one thing. People assume I went somewhere, never done press conference, never done an interview on it and I’m not going to do it.”…

Rep. Cleaver says that he wants to put the incident behind him.

“All I’m saying is we all have to diffuse [sic] it, and I think it is not in my best interest or in the best interest of this nation to stoke it,” said Rep. Cleaver. “I’ve avoided doing and I will continue to do it.”

For the good of the country, he hasn’t uttered a syllable. Except, of course, for that press release he rushed out hours after the incident happened implying that he’d been intentionally spat upon and claiming that the perp had been arrested — neither of which was true. Absolutely, positively no interviews granted, though — except, of course, for that one he gave to Courtland “I’ll knock your teeth out, teabagger” Milloy a week ago. Remember?

I know how the “tea party” people feel, the anger, venom and bile that many of them showed during the recent House vote on health-care reform. I know because I want to spit on them, take one of their “Obama Plan White Slavery” signs and knock every racist and homophobic tooth out of their Cro-Magnon heads…

Cleaver told me: “I said to this one person, ‘You spat on me.’ I thought he was going to say, ‘Hey, I was yelling. Sorry.’ But he continuing yelling and, for a few seconds, I pointed at him and said, ‘You spat on me.'”…

“I would prefer to believe that the man who allowed his saliva to hit my face was irrational for a moment,” Cleaver said.

Lost in the uproar over Milloy’s “cro magnon” bon mot was the fact that, per the boldfaced part, Cleaver’s already kinda sorta admitted that it wasn’t intentional. The guy wasn’t spitting; he was yelling, and some of the spittle hit Cleaver. But Milloy and the media had their storyline and Cleaver would have gained nothing from a forthright “no, it wasn’t deliberate” statement after making such a huge stink about it. So we’re left with a false narrative that deepens suspicions between liberals and conservatives about the other side’s bad faith. Truly wonderful.