Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said state Rep. Richard Floyd owes Hamilton County residents an apology for his outrageous claims that the president is a socialist who wants to infringe on gun-owners’ rights and turn private businesses into community property.

Floyd reportedly forwarded a bogus e-mail to constituents claiming that a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would tax guns, require fingerprints and mandate that gun owners submit to mental and physical evaluations. The National Rifle Association has even determined the e-mail’s claim to be exaggerated.

“This kind of reckless behavior is inexcusable,” Forrester said. “It is just one more example of how far some in the Republican Party will go to divide us. Instead of focusing on real problems like unemployment, poverty or high-school dropout rates, Mr. Floyd and others want to spread outrageous rumors meant to scare people.

“Many Tennesseans are out of work and struggling to make ends meet. Mr. Floyd should concentrate on doing more to help his constituents find jobs, improve the schools in his area and enhance the area’s quality of life.”

Despite being told the e-mail was untrue, Floyd refused to back away from his claim that the president is a “socialist” who surrounds himself with a “band of thugs,” referring to his top political advisors.

“We got a great socialist leader up there,” Floyd told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. “You look at Rahm Emanuel, and what’s the guy (Eric Holder) who’s the attorney general right now? Cross them and you’ll find out how big a thugs they are. I don’t know if we can survive four years of this.”

Forrester noted that while in the midst of a severe economic downturn here in the state, Tennessee Republicans were more interested in alienating rhetoric meant to distract the economic mess brought about by the failed economic policies of the previous Bush administration.

“Republicans are trying to blame Democrats for runaway spending, budget deficits and job losses,” Forrester said. “President Obama and this Congress inherited a mess that required immediate action. In only eight years, we went from record budget surpluses to record budget deficits and a near collapse of our financial system. That’s a fact.

“Instead of continuing the blame game, though, I ask Republicans to work with Democrats, Independents and others to strengthen the economy so we’ll have the kinds of jobs that will enable us to give our children the educations they need to ensure a good life for them and their children,” he added.

 

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