Apparently there are some folks who are not real appreciative of the fact that the newly elected Congressman, Steve Kagen, is lying.
Barely two weeks into office and the campaigns to oust Kagen have already begun.
I was floored when I read this editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-
Democrat Steve Kagen, the Appleton allergist elected in November to succeed Mark Green in the 8th Congressional District, is again in political hot water because of something he said. Or, to be more specific, something he told some supporters he said during a reception at the White House.
But the fact is that it's not clear exactly what was said because Kagen apparently was making much of it up. The behavior, odd beyond question, calls into question both Kagen's judgment and maturity.
It started when Kagen met with a group of anti-Iraq war activists Dec. 19 in Appleton. His comments were reported in the January issue of The Scene, a monthly Fox Valley arts tabloid under the headline, "Kagen introduces a little levity to the White House."
Among other things, Kagen told the group after talking about Iraq that he confronted presidential adviser Karl Rove in a White House men's room, blocked his exit and said, "My name's Dr. Multimillionaire, and I kicked your ass." He was apparently referring to besting a GOP candidate for whom members of the administration, including President Bush, had personally campaigned.
He also related how he deliberately insulted Laura Bush by greeting her as "Barbara" when Kagen and his wife later met the president and the first lady.
Did that actually happen? Depends on what part you're referring to.
Kagen told reporters at a news conference Sunday in Green Bay - and his communications director repeated it Tuesday - that Kagen did not insult the first lady, that he and his wife were thrilled to meet the president and his wife and "at no time was any disrespect shown on anyone's part."
OK, so why did he say it happened?
Asked by the Fox Valley newspaper and TV reporters if he confronted Rove and told him he "kicked his ass" in the election, Kagen was evasive: "I didn't block the door, but I did have a very playful experience in the White House," Kagen said.
When reporters rightly pressed Kagen for a more definitive answer, he appeared to become annoyed and said the media should focus on serious matters such as the war in Iraq.
When we asked about the Rove incident Tuesday, Kagen's communications director declined to comment.
A deputy White House press secretary told the Appleton Post-Crescent last week that Kagen's "version of events is not the way it happened at all."
Assuming Kagen wants to deal seriously with substantive matters, why make up such a silly story? And why decline to say exactly what he told Rove?
The congressman owes his constituents an explanation, but bottom line: The incident raises sobering questions about Kagen. Especially in light of other things he has said, namely his use of a racially insensitive term for American Indians during the campaign.
"I'm not there for playful experiences at the White House," Kagen said at Sunday's news conference. "I'm there to get a job done."
Time to start, Congressman.