Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, said Thursday that he "carelessly misrepresented" the Republican position on the federal spending stalemate in a remark he made a day earlier.
A Washington Examiner story by David M. Drucker reported that Stutzman was among Republicans who said Wednesday that the impasse that has shut down parts of the government is less about trying to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act than it is strengthening the GOP's position in negotiations with Democrats about the national debt limit.
"We're not going to be disrespected," Stutzman told the Examiner. "We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is."
On Thursday morning, after the quote had bounced around the Internet, Stutzman issued this statement:
"Yesterday, I carelessly misrepresented the ongoing budget debate and Speaker (John) Boehner's work on behalf of the American people. Despite my remarks it's clear that the American people want both parties to come to the table to reopen the government, tackle this nation's debt crisis, and stop ObamaCare's pain."
News media already were having a field day with Stutzman's earlier comment by the time he issued his follow-up statement. His comment even solicited a response from President Barack Obama.
"If you're being disrespected, it's because of that attitude you've got," Obama said after reading Stutzman's quote – although not naming him – during an appearance in Rockville, Md., according to Roll Call.
Time's Swampland blog carried the headline: "Congressman Stutzman: He Has No Idea What the GOP Wants."
The Washington Posts's Wonkblog wrote: "Stutzman is right. The fight over the shutdown has become unmoored from any particular policy demands the GOP believes it can secure. It's become an issue of pride and politics."
The Atlantic's Derek Thompson wrote that Stutzman's comment to the Examiner "is already being hailed online as the perfect embodiment of the GOP's bargaining position: Equal parts resolution and deep confusion."
Democrats jumped in as well.
"There are enough votes in the House right now to pass" legislation to fund the government, Democratic National Committee spokesman Michael Czin said in a conference call with reporters. "Boehner could. But folks like Congressman Stutzman are forcing their hand to keep (the government) closed. It's time to stop the brinksmanship. It's gone far enough."