ABC News' Jonathan Karl reports: Did Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) just compare Republicans to terrorists?
Well, not really. But he did compare negotiating with Republicans to negotiating with terrorists.
At a press conference with fellow Democrats, Menendez lashed out at Republicans for opposing Democratic efforts to extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class while allowing the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire.
He accused the Republicans of holding middle class tax cuts “hostage” to tax cuts for the wealthy. That’s a common Democratic line, but Menendez took the analogy a step further.
Asked if Democrats have a responsibility to move forward with a bill that can become law – in other words, a bill Republicans will support and not block-- here’s what Menendez said:
“Do you allow yourself to be held hostage and get something done for the sake of getting something done, when in fact it might be perverse in its ultimate results? It’s almost like the question of do you negotiate with terrorists.”
Republicans are crying foul.
“It’s astounding that Senators from New York and New Jersey would compare people who want to prevent a tax increase to terrorists.” said Brad Dayspring, spokesperson for incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. “. In the 10 seconds it took to utter the phrase, they effectively revealed why people don’t trust Democrats on issues of fiscal or national security. They just don’t get it.”
Menendez spokesman says Republicans are taking the senator out of context.
"Not surprisingly, Republicans would take a comment out of context in order to change the subject from their millionaires-first tax plan,” Menendez spokesman Afshin Mohamadi told ABC News. “The critical point for middle class Americans remains that Republicans have chosen to jeopardize tax cuts for every middle class family in order to guarantee an average tax cut of $104,000 for each millionaire."