A Washington State senator running for the U.S. Senate wants to make it very clear that he is not flip-flopping when it comes to totally cursing out a reporter. There was some confusion, you see, because after State Sen. Michael Baumgartner sent an email to Josh Feit, a reporter with the Seattle Met magazine blog PubliCola, telling him to "go fuck yourself," his office apologized. But then Baumgartner took the apology back, saying Feit "had it coming."
Feit's apparent crime was that he asked the senator, a pro-life conservative who condemned U.S. Rep. Todd Akin's comments about rape, to explain how his own position differed from Akin's. Baumgartner has supported banning most access to abortion, with no exception for rape victims. Baumgartner told Feit rape was a "tragedy," and that victims deserved support, but, "I am still a Catholic. I still believe life begins at conception. That is consistent with my Catholic beliefs. And I believe we must protect life." Then he said his campaign wasn't about "culture wars, but rather ending the war in Afghanistan and creating jobs."
On Monday night, after Feit wrote up the interview, Baumgartner sent him a photo of himself holding a gun, along with another man he identified as Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last week. It read, in its entirety: "Josh, this is Pat Feeks, a Navy SEAL killed last week in Afghanistan. Take a good look and then go fuck yourself." Baumgartner's office sighed (we assume), then issued an apology for the senator's "strong language." But when the local CBS affiliate KIROTV contacted Baumgartner, he said he hadn't signed off on that apology note, and that he stood by his original insult. "Baumgartner took it back and told KIRO 7's Graham Johnson that Feit, 'had it coming.' Baumgartner said he did not apologize and that he did not see that part of the news release ahead of time." At least we can give the guy credit for consistency. Eventually.