Rammell Threats and Simpson, Minnick Chats 

Rammell "Jokes" About "Obama Tags"

Rex Rammell, the East Idaho veterinarian who would like to be governor, has criticized Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter for not buying the first wolf tag and, according to the

Times-News

, indicated he'd buy an "Obama tag" if offered.

Times-News

reporter Jared Hopkins recounts an incident from a recent GOP fundraiser:

"After an audience member shouted a question about 'Obama tags' during a discussion on wolves, Rammell responded, 'The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those.'"

Rammell told the

Times-News

and the Twitterverse that it was a joke. But he also sent Hopkins' story to his media list the next morning.

Rammell has also said Otter should have been first in line for a wolf tag, or ordered Fish and Game to save him the first one and told Hopkins that the governor should have prioritized buying the tag over a former lawmaker's funeral.

Later, Rammell issued another clarification of his remarks on Obama hunting tags, via e-mail:

"Anyone who understands the law, knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C."

This was met with criticism first from Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo, then from Rammell's erstwhile opponent, Otter.

"Rex Rammell's comments are in very poor taste and should not have been said. Remarks like these should not even be made jokingly," Crapo said.

Not one to let a negative story die, Rammell held another press event as

BW

went to press, demanding an apology from GOP leaders who demanded an apology from him.

Minnick, Simpson Groveside Chat

Idaho's congressmen Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick appeared side-by-side at City Club of Boise last week, agreeing with one another an awful lot and even joking about who should sit on the right side of the dais.

The rare, bipartisan pairing drew a record crowd at the venerable public affairs forum--some 420 people. But, as with most of their votes, Minnick and Simpson agreed more than they disagreed.

Simpson said sometimes his wife does not like how he votes and Minnick said sometimes his wife likes Simpson better. Each talked over the other trying to be the first to deliver a verbatim rendition of the pharmaceutical industry talking points on health-care reform and then both made emphatic statements that campaign contributions do not influence votes.

One interesting difference emerged when Minnick admitted to canceling several appointments at the University of Idaho recently because he was behind on his fund-raising goals. Simpson then said he has only made one fund-raising call in his entire federal career.

And then moderator Marty Peterson asked about earmarks and Minnick launched into an impassioned argument against them, asserting that earmarks shortchange the competitive process and deplete funds available for competitive grants.

Simpson said if Congress does not direct earmarks then the administration will; pork is partisan any way you cut it.

But still, they agree to disagree on earmarks.

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009, 4,340 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,469 in combat and 871 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 31,483. In the last week, three U.S. soldiers died.

Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 111 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 93,022 and 101,519 .

Source: iraqbodycount.net

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $678,772,800,198

Source: costofwar.com

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