A Democratic fund-raising letter accusing House Speaker Newt Gingrich of promoting “terrorist” policies Friday triggered statements of indignation and condemnation from the speaker.
Gingrich called the letter “astonishing” and demanded that President Clinton instruct his party to refrain from “hateful speech.”
By day’s end, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had released a statement calling the language in the letter “unfortunate and inappropriate.” The statement also said the letter was first mailed at the end of March, three weeks before the bombing in Oklahoma City, but it also went out again on April 26.
The letter was written by Rep. Martin Frost, a Democrat from Texas and chairman of the campaign committee. “Newt Gingrich is one of the most dangerous figures to emerge in American politics during our lifetime,” Frost wrote in asking for “a generous donation” to help Democrats regain a majority in the House in 1996.
“He calls himself a ‘revolutionary’ but he promotes the policies of a terrorist by backing legislation that will eliminate anti-drug programs for America’s youth,” Frost also wrote.
During a briefing on the budget Friday, Gingrich sounded exasperated. “These folks just seem to be going steadily overboard,” he said. “They lost the election. I know it is hard to accept, but it was the American people’s choice.”