A real threat against Eric Cantor

Philadelphia man charged with threatening to kill House minority whip and his family

Published March 29, 2010 4:41PM (EDT)

The story that House Minority Whip Eric Cantor told last week, about being directly threatened by a bullet that supposedly went through the window of his campaign office, fell apart pretty quickly. But that doesn't mean he's never been threatened.

The U.S. attorney in Philadelphia announced Monday that Norman Leboon has been charged with threatening to kill Cantor and his family. Leboon allegedly posted a YouTube video in which he made the threat.

Cantor made a real hash of it last week, but these kinds of things do show that he had at least a partial point: Though Democrats are now playing up the threats they've faced since passing healthcare reform, it's also true that politicians and other public figures have to deal with this stuff on a fairly regular basis, even without the anger from tea partiers.

Update: Judging by a video posted on Michelle Malkin's blog, Leboon has a history of this sort of behavior, and maybe some mental problems -- he seems to believe he's the Messiah.

Update 2: A statement from Cantor Press Secretary Brad Dayspring:

Over the weekend, Congressman Cantor was notified by law enforcement that a threat was made against his life. Law enforcement officials informed Congressman Cantor that the threat was determined as credible and they were responding accordingly. The Congressman was later notified that an arrest was made and a suspect was in custody.

At this time, the Congressman will have no further comment on this threat or the investigation, and asks that inquiries be directed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Congressman is deeply grateful for, and would like to dearly thank all local and federal law enforcement involved, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Attorney’s Office in Virginia and Philadelphia, U.S. Capitol Police and the Henrico Police Department in Virginia.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Eric Cantor R-va.