Following the unveiling of arguably the most politically explosive domestic policy bill of the 110th Congress last Thursday, Pelosi seemed to wholeheartedly support the tax overhaul authored by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rangel.
“I certainly support his plan,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said to the assembled reporters.
But when the transcript of the briefing came out, words were inserted — highlighted by brackets — clarifying that she supported his goal, if not his specific proposals.
The final transcript read: “I certainly support his plan [to begin tax reform.]”
The distinction is an important one. Rangel was immediately criticized by the GOP as he announced his highly controversial tax plan and Republicans started trying to tie the plan to Pelosi and the Democratic leadership.
The change makes it clear that the House’s Democratic leader is supporting only the concept of changing tax laws, not every one of Rangel’s proposed changes, which would raise taxes for people with higher incomes and cut them for those with lower incomes.
The change didn’t take. Stories in The Associated Press and Congressional Quarterly (CQ) ran the initial quote.
The Federal News Service and LexisNexis transcripts don’t include the change. The CQ transcript, which notes at the top, “AS RELEASED BY REP. PELOSI’S OFFICE,” does include the after-the-fact change in brackets.
Republicans criticized the change, but irritated Pelosi aides said too much is being made of an innocent change that was not intended to deceive.
“It is clear she didn’t say it, but we put in there, in brackets, to clarify her intent,” Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said in an e-mail exchange. “She personally supports Rangel’s plan/bill to begin tax reform, but Congress will work its will.”
Um-hm. Rangel’s plan includes a big tax hike on anyone making over $150k; Pelosi says (after the fact) that she favors one starting at the $500k level. Either way you look at that, it’s a tax hike on “the rich,” which has been a staple of Democrat policy for decades.
Maybe she meant to say “I certainly support his plan [to spin up class warfare and redistribute wealth. We can quibble about the details later.]” It would have been accurate.
Here’s the NRCC’s take on Rangel’s frightful plan.
Update: Scott emails to remind me that this isn’t the first time Pelosi has been nabbed revising and extending, or in this case, deleting her remarks after they’ve been caught on tape.
In March of this year, Pelosi delivered this speech.
At about 7:30 in she says that the Iraq war is a totally separate war from the war on terrorism.
“The war in Iraq is a separate war from the war on terror. It is a separate war.”
But in the version of the speech that she has posted on her web site, those lines have been redacted. Oddly enough, she has posted the video and her remark is there. It’s just not in the transcript.
Maybe she ad-libbed and thought better of what she’d said later. Maybe it was a Kinsleyan gaffe, in which a politician says what they actually think and then cover it up or excuse it later. Whatever the explanation, it doesn’t say much good about her honesty.