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Steve Scalise's Problem Is the Republican Party's Problem

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message John Nichols       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Reprinted from The Nation


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David Duke is vouching for House majority whip Steve Scalise, the Louisiana conservative who is now the third-most-powerful Republican in the US House. As Scalise faces tough questions and criticism following the revelation that he was a presenter at a gathering of the former Klan leader's European-American Unity and Rights Organization, Duke attests that the congressman is "a fine family man and a good person."

Duke is even volunteering theories about how Scalise ended up at the 2002 meeting of a reasonably high-profile white supremacist group. The former grand wizard explains that the top Republican was "friendly" with a key campaign strategist for Duke's gubernatorial and US Senate bids in Louisiana. In fact, Federal Election Commission records reveal that the longtime Duke political aide in question, Kenny Knight, donated $1,000 to the 2008 campaign that saw Scalise make his move from state politics to Congress.

"All I know is that Kenny liked him," Duke told The Washington Post Tuesday. "He thought Scalise who, remember was just a state representative, was sharp. They'd talk about the Hollywood system, about the war, whatever I was concerned about." Knight confirms that he invited Scalise to the EURO meeting but suggests that Scalise was oblivious. "Steve was someone who I exchanged ideas with on politics," explained Knight, who was apparently trying to be helpful when he added, "We wouldn't talk about race or the Jewish question."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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