Congressmembers rule: No calling Bush a liar
Michael Roston
Published: Monday July 16, 2007
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A Congressional Democrat has been reined in for calling President George W. Bush a 'liar' during a Thursday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, according to the Monday edition of the newspaper Roll Call.

"Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) offered a lengthy criticism of Bush’s record toward the end of Thursday’s hearing, which included a statement that Bush lied about the reasons for going to war with Iraq in 2003," writes Susan Davis. "Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) offered an objection on the grounds that Watt’s words were 'unparliamentary' and violated House rules on debate and decorum that forbid personal attacks on Members, the president or vice president."

The exchange occurred just before the end of the hearing that expected to receive testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, who failed to appear. She cited the White House's exercise of 'executive privilege.'

Davis notes that a problem then occurred.

"Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee Chairwoman Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) countered that the words were not 'unparliamentary,' which parliamentarians and leadership aides on both sides of the aisle later agreed was the wrong procedural call," she writes.

Cannon and his fellow Republicans then failed in a vote that attempted to 'take down' Watt's words. But because Rep. Sánchez's ruling was said to interfere with House precedent on the question, Rep. Cannon threatened "to take it to the House floor in a privileged resolution."

The two sides subsequently negotiated a compromise in which Sánchez agreed to vacate her decision that the words were not 'unparliamentary' in a subsequent hearing.

Cannon is not a stranger to controversy of his own over strong statements. He recently called former US Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias an 'idiot' in a Fox News broadcast.

The full Roll Call article can be read by subscribers at this link.