The diatribe of Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa against Tea Party conservatives is roiling the political waters, and the episode suggests that the rhetoric in the 2012 campaign will be as rough as it gets.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, is now using Hoffa's remarks in a fund-raising appeal for the GOP.
In a "Dear Republican" e-mail, Priebus called Hoffa the "chief thug" of the Teamsters and said Hoffa's rhetoric in introducing President Obama to a rally in Michigan on Labor Day contained "vile rhetoric that seems more befitting of Red Square." [Vote now: Will Obama be a one-term president?]
Priebus called on Obama to "condemn this rabid vitriol" and noted that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has already declined to condemn it.
"The Democrats do not offer 'Hope & Change,'" Priebus said, "only hate and greed."
Hoffa made headlines when he said in Detroit, "President Obama, this is your army, we are ready to march. But everybody here's got to vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son-of-a-bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong."
Hoffa declined yesterday to apologize for his remarks, saying, 'We didn't start this war—the right wing did. We're tired of seeing good-paying jobs shipped overseas. The fight is about the economy. It's about jobs and it's about rebuilding America...I will never apologize for standing up for my fellow Teamsters and all American workers." [Check out a roundup of editorial cartoons on the economy.]
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama wasn't on the stage when Hoffa made his comments and the press secretary declined to play what he called guilt by association. Carney declined further comment.