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Having exhausted the list of usual suspects who might address a controversial issue like Goode's comments, I had to get creative.

Presidential hopefuls usually like a chance to get quoted. I tried Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former New York city mayor Rudy Giuliani, and left messages at both offices.

Next, moderate GOP senators. Let's try the women from Maine, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R) and Susan Collins (R). Snowe's D.C. and Maine offices were closed; I left a message for Collins. She should have something to say: she's the outgoing chair of the Homeland Security committee.

What about Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)? There are Muslims in Minnesota, right? Plus he's spent time on Collins' Homeland Security committee. Alas, his D.C. office was closed. I left a message at his St. Paul office.

A thought struck me -- I ought to call Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-LA). He's Catholic, but he's one of the few (if only) members of Congress with immigrant parents. He'd have a position on curtailing immigration to a particular religious or ethic group, wouldn't he?

Maybe he does, but I don't know it. I left a message for his spokesman; here's hoping he calls back.

I continue to work the phones here in the TPMmuckraker D.C. bureau, anxious to find a Republican who's willing to address the substance of Rep. Virgil Goode's now-infamous Fear-of-a-Muslim-America letter.

But I wanted to take a moment to note two cases in which Republicans have spoken about the letter while declining to directly address Goode's anti-Muslim-immigration policy suggestions.

First, Sen. John Warner (R-VA) released a statement yesterday in which he offered that he respects the right of all members of Congress to freely "exercise the religion of their choice, including those of the Islamic faith utilizing the Quran." No mention of Goode's proposed immigration restrictions on Muslims.

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Still not talking.

Noting that Goode is a member of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, I tried the group's chairman, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO). his spokesman was out of the office, so I sent him an email. Did Goode's anti-Muslim immigration stance square with the position of the Caucus?

(If it does, it doesn't square with Tancredo's personal position on the issue: "The immigration issue has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, religion, or country of origin insofar as I am concerned," he says in an Oct. 3, 2005 policy statement on the site.)

I also left a message with the office of Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who's incoming chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). Keep your fingers crossed!

Since news of anti-Muslim comments by Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) surfaced a few days ago, a number of public figures and groups have cried foul. But so far, we haven't spotted a single Republican making a comment on the topic.

Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell (NJ) called Goode's remarks, made in a letter to several hundred constituents, "personally offensive." Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also said she found Goode's invection against Muslim immigration "offensive." And two prominent organizations -- one Islamic, the other Jewish -- have both spoken out against Goode.

So I got to dialing. First I tried Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), incoming minority leader. His spokesman wasn't available; I left a message and sent an email.

Next I rang Rep. Roy Blunt's (R-OH) office. He's the House Republican whip. A spokeswoman promised to let me know if his office planned to make a statement.

I'll keep calling. Surely, on this holiday eve, there is one Republican who wants to speak publicly for goodwill towards others, even if they're Muslim.

Looks like we may have gotten one last no-no from departing congressman Curt Weldon (R-PA): breaking a House rule to hide news of his investigation in a failing effort to win his election.

We learned in October that Weldon was under federal investigation, via leaks to the press. A few weeks later, Weldon lost his election to Democrat Joe Sestak, due at least in part to news of the investigation.

Weldon has blamed the investigation on a liberal conspiracy, and charged that the FBI -- who, he says, leaked news of the investigation to throw his election -- is "out of control."

Funny thing: it turns out that prior to the election, a grand jury issued a subpoena to then-Rep. Weldon for information relating to the FBI's investigation. House rules dictate that all such subpoenas are to be reported publicly in the Congressional Record -- yet Weldon's was never reported, according to the LATimes this morning.

This news means a couple things: First, Weldon appears to have broken the rules when he found them inconvenient.

It also means that leaks or no leaks, news of the FBI's investigation into Weldon should have come out before the election, so Weldon's concerns about loose lips at the bureau seem misplaced. The Congressional Record is read by many reporters -- particularly its items about subpoenas being issued to lawmakers. It would have been on the wires in a heartbeat.

Now, the LATimes notes that they can't confirm when Weldon received the subpoena. But it's hard to imagine a grand jury issuing such a writ and then waiting weeks to deliver it.

Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) is refusing to back down from his incindiary anti-Muslim comments, but opposition to his position is swelling.

In a letter to the congressman yesterday, the Anti-Defamation League called on Goode to reconsider his "ill-conceived remarks" about how he fears an influx of legal Muslim immigrants and its effect on American culture and politics. His comments were earlier condemned by the nation's most prominent Islamic political organization, the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"To suggest Muslims should be viewed with fear, based solely on their faith, demonizes millions of people living in our communities," wrote ADL's Washington, D.C. director, David L. Friedman. "This is of special concern at a time when the stereotyping and disparate treatment of communities as part of debates over immigration or counterterrorism policy impacts those people in very tangible ways, including making them more vulnerable to bias-motivated violence."

Lawmaker's Files Sought by Grand Jury "A federal grand jury has subpoenaed congressional records from Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) as part of an escalating Justice Department corruption probe aimed at determining whether Weldon used his influence to win favors for family members, people familiar with the investigation said.

"The previously unreported subpoena was issued by a grand jury in Washington before the November election, although it is unclear when Weldon received it." (LATimes)

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Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) gave an interview to Fox News just now to respond to the public outcry against his publicly-voiced fear of a Muslim congressman.



Appearing on Fox's "Your World" program with guest-host David Asman, Goode insisted he does not want to forbid Keith Ellison from using the Koran outright. "But," he said, "I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives."

To block the invading hordes, Goode wants to curtail legal immigration for Middle Easterners, and end Diversity Visa programs that were created to increase the immigrants from non-European countries.

Goode chose his words carefully:

David Asman: So you do believe there're too many Middle Easterners here now?

(brief pause)

Rep. Virgil Goode: No, I — I said there were — and the Diversity Visa program needs to be ended. It shouldn't have been adopted to begin with, in my opinion.

Asman: But do you think there are too many Middle Easterners in the United States right now?

(brief pause)

Goode: Uh — I'm not gonna say 'yes' or 'no' on that. I'd like to know the exact number. I don't have the exact numbers.

Over at the Washington Note, we see that the New York Times is set to reject a White House-led effort to block publication of an essay critical of its foreign policy.

Last week the paper was set to publish an op-ed piece by Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration official who worked at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of State, and on the National Security Council, which criticized the White House for its disastrous diplomatic approach towards Iran.

The CIA reviewed the article and cleared it for publication, but the White House put the brakes on it, saying it contained classified information that the CIA missed. Leverett cried foul: "All of my publications on Iran -- and, indeed, on any other policy matter on which I have written since leaving government -- were cleared beforehand by the CIA's Publication Review Board to confirm that I would not be disclosing classified information."

Now Steve Clemons, a friend of Leverett's, reports on his blog (ed.: see editorial note below) that tomorrow the Times will run the op-ed "with redacted lines 'blacked out.'" Clemons told me by phone that the Times will instruct readers where they can find the omitted information in other (unclassified) publications -- like, for instance, in Leverett's paper on the same topic called "Dealing with Tehran," published through the Century Foundation.

The information the White House had redacted, according to Leverett, "include Iran's dialogue and cooperation with the United States concerning Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and Iran's offer to negotiate a comprehensive "grand bargain" with the United States in the spring of 2003."

(ed.note: After this post was written, the post by Steve Clemons, which we referenced above, was taken down from his site, The Washington Note. The post which subsequently took its place contains some of the same information but not the key points referenced above --jmm.)

This week we've been tallying up all the instances Bush administration officials have attempted to remove data from the public record or block its publication, particularly if it was in conflict with White House policy.

Thanks to the help of readers, fellow bloggers and watchdog organizations, we've by now counted over 20 examples: databases pulled from public view, reports suppressed, studies de-funded and more, in areas like climate change, unemployment, poverty and the Iraq war.

You can find the growing list here. Know of another instance? Let us know.

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