Napolitano: Peters Threat Against TV Station Sounds Like Putin

Image: Napolitano: Peters Threat Against TV Station Sounds Like Putin Rep. Gary Peters

Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 09:27 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Andrew Napolitano on Tuesday criticized Michigan Democrat Rep. Gary Peters for threatening to pull a television station's license for airing an ad critical of Obamacare that featured a woman with cancer.

"For him to threaten the power of the government to silence her sounds more like Vladimir Putin in Russia than a member of Congress in the United States," Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, told "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday.

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The ad featured Julie Boonstra, a Michigan woman battling leukemia, who said she lost her healthcare due to Obamacare and said her new health coverage was more costly. She said she would not back down in her efforts to tell her story.

"I'm very upset with them for trying to stop my ad. I battle cancer every day. They're not going to intimidate me. I have my First Amendment right, my freedom of speech. And I will stand behind that," Boonstra told Fox News on Monday.

Peters, who voted for Obamacare, is running for the Senate seat vacated by fellow Democrat Carl Levin. Napolitano said that while Peters originally supported Obamacare, now "he's running from it, and he's trying to silence her."

Campaign lawyers for Peters contacted the station running the ad and threatened to pull its license for "failure to prevent the airing of 'false and misleading advertising.' "

Napolitano called it a "new low" for a member of Congress to attempt to "silence political speech." The remedy to counter political criticism, Napolitano said, was not to suppress speech, but to have "more speech."

"If you don't like what she's saying, congressman, get on the air and defend yourself," he said.

Should the TV station pull the ad, Napolitano said it would be a "body blow to the First Amendment." He said the "two-bit threat" to the station was not permissible under the law.

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