Broun (eventually) does the right thing

BROUN (EVENTUALLY) DOES THE RIGHT THING…. Right-wing Rep. Paul Broun (R) of Georgia hosted a town-hall event in his district this week, and heard a constituent ask, “Who is going to shoot President Obama?” Based on local accounts, the congressman laughed in response, as did the audience. Broun replied by acknowledging the “frustration with this president.”

Today, the congressman’s office issued a statement, clarifying matters:

“Tuesday night at a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia an elderly man asked the abhorrent question, ‘Who’s going to shoot Obama?’ I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question. After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities.

“I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements — made in sincerity or jest — that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”

I certainly give Broun credit for the condemnation. I hope it’s sincere.

But at the risk of sounding picky, I have a couple of follow-up questions. First, when Broun argued he “chose not to dignify” the question, why do local media accounts have him offering a response?

Second, if Broun believes such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated, why did it take him three days to issue a denunciation? Is it just a coincidence that the congressman felt compelled to condemn the assassination “joke” after the media started covering it?

For what it’s worth, it appears the Secret Service spoke to the person who asked the question at the event. Greg Sargent reports that this was an “elderly person,” who now regrets making a bad joke, and the Secret Service now considers this “a closed matter.”