GOP Candidate for Va. House Spurs Outcry Over Remarks

By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 17, 2009

A Virginia Republican's fierce call to resist President Obama's political agenda -- with bullets, if necessary -- ignited an outcry on the Internet yesterday and forced her to clarify that she was not looking to incite violence.

Appearing at a "Tea Party" rally Wednesday to protest Obama's expansion of government, Catherine Crabill, a political neophyte running for the House of Delegates in the Northern Neck, quoted from a March 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then went further, calling on Americans to resist the course Obama has set for the country.

"We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box," Crabill said. "But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny."

Crabill, a real estate agent and home-schooling mother of four, said yesterday that she would not back down from her defense of the right to use bullets to address government grievances, saying that if fiery words were good enough for Henry, they're good enough for her.

"Those are my convictions," Crabill, 52, said in a telephone interview. "I am a full-blooded, freedom-loving American, and what we're seeing in Washington is domestic terrorism at its worst."

But as the video of her remarks zipped around the Internet, she said she worried that she would be caricatured. And she said she wanted to make clear that she was not advocating armed resistance.

"I have no desire to see this country erupt in any kind of violent revolution," Crabill said. "I don't even own a gun."

Looking around a nation in which some people have been stockpiling weapons since Obama's victory, however, she said she worried where it all might lead. She said her speech was less a call to arms than a call for conservatives to mobilize for coming elections at all levels.

"It scares me what's going on," she said. "And this administration is socializing every area of life." She added: "Socialism is probably being kind: This is a Marxist agenda."

After a video of her remarks was posted on the Internet, some Democrats seized on them to suggest that the Republican Party remains a haven for extremists.

"The Northern Neck is conservative, but not reactionary, and I think people will be appalled," said her opponent, Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr. (D-Northumberland).

Some said her remarks were not surprising, given an April 1995 article by the Washington Times that identified her as a member of a militia known as the New Mexico Citizens Action Association and quoted her as saying that she believed the Oklahoma City bombing had been the work of the federal government. Pressed about her remarks of nearly 15 years ago, Crabill disputed the exact wording but not the gist of her beliefs.

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