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House Speaker’s “divide and conquer” statement lights a fire

[1]The web is alight these last 24 hours with stories and commentaries regarding North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis’s remarkably offensive and bone-headed comments before a group of Madison County Republicans.

The story, which was broken by my colleague Chris Fitzsimon [2], has now made its way onto the websites several other news outlets, including WRAL [3], the News & Observer [4], State Government Radio and the Freedom newspapers [5].

The Speaker’s helpers are already trying to spin the story as mere linguistic clumsiness, but anyone who watches the speech [6]gets a very different impression — namely that Tillis thought he was speaking to an extremely friendly audience of supporters (one in which he could let his hair down and say what he really thinks).

It is, frankly, an incredibly depressing glimpse into the heart (largely non-existent it would appear) of a very powerful and, normally, very slick politician.