Former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II’s association with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez is not just in bad taste, it is a disgrace, Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., tells Newsmax.TV. Mack also disparaged President Barack Obama’s plan to freeze federal spending as insufficient.
Kennedy’s organization, Citizens Energy, has received tens of millions of gallons of discounted oil from Citgo since 2005. The non-profit then passes on the oil to the poor so they can heat their homes. Citgo is a Houston-based oil company owned by the Venezuelan government.
“Well it’s clearly bad taste,” Mack said an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. “I think it is a disgrace. Kennedy should know better. He should not allow his name to be associated with a thugacrat in Latin America who is bent on – and I’m talking about Hugo Chávez – bent on destroying the foundation of what America stands for. And for Joe Kennedy to allow his name to be used in that way is a disgrace.”
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Mack and Kennedy have been battling over the issue for years. Kennedy has countered the criticisms by noting that Citgo sells gas that goes into the tanks of American cars across the country.
“Joe, you just don’t get it,” Mack added. “You are running an ad putting praise on a dictator who is destroying the hopes and dreams of not only the people in Venezuela, but in our hemisphere. He is aligning himself with Iran, with [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, there’s talk about missiles being placed in Venezuela, there’s talk about him supplying uranium to Ahmadinejad for their nuclear weapons program. So Kennedy, I’m sorry you don’t get this. But it’s not about you trying to give oil to low-income families, it’s about you praising Hugo Chávez, a man who is bound and determined to wage a silent war on the United States of America and everything we stand for.”
Mack, who may challenge Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., next year, also took on Obama’s proposal for a five-year freeze on domestic spending.
“A freeze is not a cut and what we need is serious cuts to the federal budget,” he said. “We need to stop spending money on things that we don’t need and the American people don’t want. We need to get real about the financial crisis we’re in and it starts with cutting spending. The president is talking about freezing in a bloated spending level in the first place. The only way we’re going to get our fiscal house in order is if we have serious cuts to the budget.”
On the situation in Egypt, he said the administration missed the mark, “America should stand for freedom and we ought to standing with those who are fighting for freedom.”
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