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Emanuel Cleaver backpedals on "spitting" claim...

by EdHannigan / April 17, 2010 12:54 PM PDT

A spokesman for Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement Saturday evening confirming earlier second-hand reports that the Congressman had been spit on, and again equating the health care bill with the civil rights movement ?

?This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the other Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care.

In an interview on Tuesday with FOX 4 News, Rep. Cleaver would not directly answer the question of whether or not he was intentionally spit upon.

?I haven?t talked about this incident on TV or anywhere, and I?ve been approached to talk about it on every national TV show,? said Rep. Cleaver in an interview with FOX 4 News. ?I never, I never reported anything, never a single thing in Washington, not one thing. People assume I went somewhere, never done press conference, never done an interview on it and I?m not going to do it.?

Rep. Cleaver is standing his ground on the incident. He says that if the spitting incident hadn?t been caught on tape, no one would have ever known because he wouldn?t have made it an issue.

?What ever they say is fine with me, I?m not going to get into the issue,? said Rep. Cleaver. ?I didn?t even plan to have it known by anybody.?

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