You are hereTalking Points Memo: Teamsters President: ‘No Regrets’ After Fiery Speech Draws Right-Wing Criticism

Talking Points Memo: Teamsters President: ‘No Regrets’ After Fiery Speech Draws Right-Wing Criticism


-by Evan McMorris-Santoro

September 25, 2011- Teamsters union president James Hoffa would say it all again if he could, he told TPM Monday.

Hoffa riled up Fox News and the right wing Monday with a Labor Day speech in Detroit in which he called Republican members of Congress "sons of bitches" and said union workers are ready to "go to war" with the tea party next year and "take out" Republicans at the ballot box.

Hoffa said he'd say the exact same words all over again.

"I would because I believe it," he said. "They've declared war on us. We didn't declare war on them, they declared war on us. We're fighting back. The question is, who started the war?"

The speech came shortly before President Obama took the stage in Detroit -- and Hoffa's remarks certainly overshadowed Obama's on Fox. But the Teamsters chief said he was just matching fired-up conservative rhetoric when it comes to organized labor and Obama with some fired-up rhetoric of his own.

Presidential hopeful Herman Cain decried the speech as "name-calling" in an interview on Fox News shortly after Hoffa's remarks -- which were repeatedly looped on the network -- but the union leader dismissed criticisms like that one as total hypocrisy.

"How is that different than Mitch McConnell saying he wants to take out Barack Obama?" Hoffa said.

Progressive Fox News watchdog Media Matters For America charged that the clip had been deceptively edited in Fox's re-airing of it.

Hoffa said his tough tone reflects the nature of the forces massed against unions -- and tells the truth about the dangers faced by organized labor and their allies in the progressive movement during the Republican ascendancy

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