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Rep. Hansen Faulted on Assassination Remark

Associated Press
Saturday, October 24, 1998; Page A09

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 23—Rep. James V. Hansen (R-Utah) said he was only joking and characterizing the statements of more than a few constituents when he said some people want to see President Clinton assassinated.

Utah Democrats and the Secret Service did not find the comment funny. "It's a repulsive comment, and why he said it, I don't know," said Todd Taylor, executive director of the state Democratic Party.

Steve Peterson, who runs Hansen's Utah office, said today the nine-term Republican was referring to a specific call to his campaign office last week and that he had written it off as coming from a crackpot.

The Secret Service said Hansen should have notified its office.

"The Secret Service should be left to determine whether it's a joke or a threat," Agent Steve Berthold said.

The problem came to light when Hansen told a radio station Wednesday that hundreds of people are calling his office about the investigation into Clinton and former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky.

"Well over 90 percent are saying impeach. They're saying censure, they're saying all kinds of crazy things. Some are saying assassinate. I'm not saying that," he said.

Peterson said today that it was one of many such calls.

"This is just a symptom of how strong feelings are running," he said. "But no one should interpret his comments to say in any way that it typifies what he believes."

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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