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Congressman invokes Klan Wizard in pro-war floor speech
Michael Roston
Published: Tuesday May 8, 2007
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A Texas Republican Congressman invoked a founding Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in a floor speech he delivered yesterday in support of the Iraq War.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest, successful Confederate general, said it best about winning and victory and the means to do so. He said: 'Get there firstest with the mostest,'" said Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) in a one-minute floor speech at the beginning of Monday's session in the House of Representatives.

Poe then called on Congress to fund the war in Iraq.

"Congress needs to send the generals the mostest, Mr. Speaker, needs to send equipment and personnel that is needed. Doing this will help our mission in spite of the Congressional Surrender Group's desire to retreat and quit," he added.

Poe left out Forrest's history as a founder of the Ku Klux Klan, in addition to fighting on the side of the Confederacy.

"Although he repeatedly denied membership even lying to Congress Forrest in fact led the Klan through one of its most violent and successful periods, when robed terrorists succeeded in rolling back Reconstruction. He even told one newspaper reporter that while he was no member, he 'intend[ed]' to kill radical Republicans," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Roll Call's Heard on the Hill column, which first revealed the speech, also noted that Poe had in fact misquoted Forrest, who had said to get there fastest, instead of first.

A video of Poe's speech can be accessed at the website of ThinkProgress.

Tom Hanks' titular character in the 1994 Academy Award winning film Forrest Gump, which freely riffs on controversial chapters in American history, was named after the Confederate general and Klan founder. Gump's mother named him "Forrest" because "sometimes we all do things that, well, just don't make no sense."