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Daschle Takes Even More Heat

11/24/2002 07:00:00 PM Eastern

If outgoing Senate Majority leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) thought he would get some relief from the nation's conservative talk hosts when he equated some with foreign hate groups and blamed them for an increase in threats on politicians and their families, he was mistaken. Instead, he got more of the kind of talk he was teed off about in the first place.

Daschle's comments quickly became talk-show fodder, with the very hosts he targeted dismissing the Senator's charges as post-election complaining.

Popular conservative Sean Hannity—a likely Rush Limbaugh wannabe in Daschle's eyes—who provides political perspectives on both a syndicated radio show and Fox News Channel, said Daschle owed him and every radio talk-show host an apology.

Daschle's primary target, Rush Limbaugh, played Daschle's comments on his show Wednesday and told his listeners that "every time the Democrats lose either elections or a major issue, they blame me, they blame talk radio, and they blame you." Limbaugh asked why Daschle hadn't raised the issue before November?

Daschle told reporters that "what happens when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life is that people aren't satisfied just to listen. They want to act because they get emotionally invested. And so the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically and on our families.

"We see it in foreign countries," he continued, "and we think, 'Well, my God, how can this religious fundamentalism become so violent?' Well, it's that same shrill rhetoric. It's that same shrill power that motivates. ... Pretty soon, it's a foment that becomes physical in addition to just verbal, and that's happening in this country."

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