By Mike Soraghan - 10/01/09 03:39 PM EDT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says there's no reason for Rep.
Alan Grayson to apologize for his "Die quickly" remark, since
Republicans have made statements just as outrageous as his.
"If anybody's going apologize, everybody should apologize," Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference. "We are holding Democrats to a higher standard than their own members."
"Typically, Republicans would like to use this as distraction because they have no plan," Pelosi said.
Republicans, who have been eager to compare Grayson's remark to Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) "You lie!" outburst, said Pelosi's refusal to call on Grayson to apologize meant that she condones "despicable" conduct.
“The only thing lower than the Speaker’s actions – or inaction – are her ever-worsening public approval ratings," said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Grayson made a presentation on the House floor Tuesday night in which he said, “if you get sick, America, the Republican healthcare plan is this: Die quickly.” He even had a sign printed reading, “The Republican Healthcare Plan: Die Quickly.”
After Republicans demanded an apology, Rep. Grayson went to the floor to mock the demand, and called the deaths of Americans because they don't have insurance a "holocaust."
“I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America,” Grayson said.
Later, in a television interview, he called Republicans " foot-dragging, knuckle dragging neanderthals who know nothing but 'no.'"
The only statement he has backed off from is the comparison to a "holocaust," telling MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, "It may not have been the best choice of words."
House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) said Wednesday that he would "encourage" Grayson to apologize. Grayson said the two talked Wednesday and Larson did not ask him to apologize.
Democrats Wednesday quickly compiled and circulated examples of Republicans making inflammatory comments in the healthcare debate.
For example, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) said in July that “Democrats released a healthcare bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: Drop dead.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said, “Government-run healthcare” will “absolutely” “end up killing more people than it saves.”
And Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said, “One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine! I would hate to think that among five women, one of ’em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.”