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Incoming White House Adviser Quickly Backtracks After Comparing GOP to Jonestown Cult


"...my snark got in front of my judgment."

Center for American Progress co-founder John Podesta moderates a panel discussion during a conference commemorating the 10th anniversary of the center at the Astor Ballroom of the St. Regis Hotel October 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. Former Clinton Administration Chief of Staff Podesta co-founded the liberal public policy research and advocacy organization as a think tank that rivals conservative policy groups, such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Incoming White House adviser John Podesta apologized Wednesday for comparing Republican opposition to President Barack Obama to the infamous Jonestown cult that inspired more than 900 people to die by cyanide poisoning in 1978.

Incoming White House adviser John Podesta apologized for comparing the GOP to Jonestown (Getty Images)

The White House needs “to focus on executive action given that they are facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress,” Podesta was quoted as saying in a Politico magazine article published Tuesday.

“I think (Obama administration officials) were naturally preoccupied with legislating at first, and I think it took them a while to make the turn to execution. They are focused on that now,” the former Clinton White House chief of staff said. “They have to realize that the president has broad authority, that he’s not just the prime minister. He can drive a whole range of action. They always grasped that on foreign policy and in the national security area. Now they are doing it on the domestic side.”

Podesta, who also helped found the ultra-liberal think tank Center for American Progress in 2003, was met with swift pushback from conservatives.

“Dem Rep. Ryan was killed in Jonestown. His then-aide, Rep. Speier was shot (five times),” GOP strategist Rory Cooper tweeted. “Podesta's comments show them no honor.”

Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, tweeted: "John Podesta seems like a real class act."

Podesta offered a hasty apology for the "old interview." He spoke to Politico in the fall, before he was tapped to join Obama.

“In an old interview, my snark got in front of my judgment,” Podesta tweeted Wednesday. “I apologize to Speaker Boehner, whom I have always respected.”

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/johnpodesta/statuses/413338871913398273"]

Podesta is being brought on to advise the White House on the many problems that have engulfed the president’s second term including the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups.

(H/T: Hot Air)

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter


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