By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
In a statement likely to intensify the GOP assault on Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reign, a first-term Democratic "blue dog" congressman said that he would not vote to make her the top House Democrat again. Rep. Parker Griffith, a former oncologist from Alabama, told a town hall meeting this week that Pelosi is too divisive to be speaker. "I would not vote for her [again]," he added. "Someone that divisive and that polarizing cannot bring us together."
Griffith has been fairly independent this year, opposing the stimulus and the cap-and-trade carbon emissions plan, according to the Huntsville (Ala.) Times, which reported his comments.
His words and jokes about Pelosi's iron fist were music to Republicans' ears. "It's not surprising that the August heat is leading House Democrats like Parker Griffith to abandon support for Speaker Pelosi, but what's more shocking is that it's taken them this long to understand what Americans have known all along," said Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "Not only is Pelosi divisive and polarizing, she is steering her caucus down a politically perilous road that will cost them their jobs before she ultimately loses hers."
There was no immediate comment from the speaker's office, but a Democratic insider shrugged off the comments and said that the Democratic Caucus stands strongly with Pelosi.
And at the town hall, Griffith's conservative comments weren't met entirely with applause. One attendee, wrote the Times, asked when Griffith was going to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and "get behind a winner called Barack Obama?"
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Corrected on : Corrected on 8/25/09: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the state Rep. Parker Griffith represents. He is from Alabama.