Rep. Gresham Barrett's letter to President Obama

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman J. Gresham Barrett (SC, 03) sent a letter to President Obama regarding efforts by congressional Democrats to censure Congressman Joe Wilson. The full text of the letter has been included below.

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing you out of deep concern regarding the ongoing political effort orchestrated by your fellow Democrats in Congress to censure Congressman Joe Wilson.

While we may strongly disagree on the issue of health care, I am confident we can agree on the importance of an honest debate and the need to remain focused on the task at hand.

As you said in your speech to Congress last Wednesday, "The time for bickering is over. The time for games has passed. Now is the season for action. Now is when we must bring the best ideas of both parties together, and show the American people that we can still do what we were sent here to do."

I could not agree more.

Unfortunately, I am afraid that the political posturing by some Democratic Members in Congress has gotten the better of them and undoubtedly will prohibit the best ideas from coming forward and the best interests of the American people from being served. I am hopeful that you still share the belief that the health care debate is too important to allow it to become sidetracked by the petty politics with which so many Americans have grown disillusioned.

Certainly no one, not even Congressman Wilson, would assert that his comment in last week's Joint Session was appropriate for the time or the setting. Congressman Wilson is a good and honorable man, and to his credit, he did the right thing and apologized. And to your credit, you graciously accepted that apology.

As your Party's leader and as our President, you alone have the influence and position necessary to ask the Democratic Members of Congress to put a stop to the distraction that would accompany any ill-advised attempt to censure Congressman Joe Wilson.

Mr. President, I sincerely hope you will strongly consider my request to call on the Democratic Leadership in Congress to put a stop to this political sideshow which does not serve the best interests of the American people.

I will not participate in partisan mockery of this sort and should the attempt to censure Congressman Wilson reach the floor of the House, I will abstain from voting. Simply put, it is time for us to move on and I refuse to be party to any action that does not focus on the critically important issues facing our country.

Mr. President, you can help us avoid all of this by calling on members of your Party to end this partisan witch hunt and rightfully return focus to the health care debate.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


J. Gresham Barrett

Member of Congress