Paul Broun

Broun disputes "shoot Obama" story

The Republican congressman's office claims he did not respond to the now-notorious town hall question


Justin Elliott
February 25, 2011 10:26PM (UTC)

Three days after a town hall event in which a questioner asked him "who's going to shoot President Obama," Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., has issued a statement condemning the remark as "abhorrent. "

But in an interview with Salon, Broun's spokesman is also disputing a local news account that reported Broun responded to the questioner by saying, " I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president."

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Here's the key line in Broun's new statement:

"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."

But that contradicts an account by the Athens Banner-Herald, the local newspaper that first reported the exchange. Banner-Herald reporter Blake Aued reported Wednesday that Broun had responded to the "shoot Obama" question by saying, "The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year." This account was written after Aued checked with Broun's spokeswoman, according to his story.

I asked Broun press secretary Austin Carson about the discrepancy today. Carson said:

"Blake misquoted it slightly. Broun moved to the next question, and then someone asked a question somehow related to that -- about, what's going on with President Obama or something like that. The congressman actually did not respond to the gentleman who asked [the original] question."

Blake Aued told me in an e-mail that he has not heard from Broun's people asking for a correction. (And it's also worth noting that that story has been online for three days.) So at this point, we have two different accounts of what happened.

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Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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