RANGEL: AN ATTACK ON BUSH IS AN ATTACK ON ALL AMERICANS... 'You do not come into my country, my congressional district, and you do not condemn my president. If there is any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not. I just want to make it abundantly clear to Hugo Chavez or any other president, do not come to the United States and think because we have problems with our president that any foreigner can come to our country and not think that Americans do not feel offended when you offend our Chief of State'...
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of President George W. Bush's fiercest political opponents at home took his side on Thursday, calling Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez a "thug" for his remark that Bush is like the devil.
"Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is an everyday thug," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference, referring to Chavez' comments in a U.N. General Assembly speech on Wednesday.
"Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations," said Pelosi, a frequent Bush critic. "He demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela."
Simon Bolivar led the fight for independence against Spanish rule in several South American countries in the early 19th century and is cited by Chavez as a political model.
Chavez, a vociferous critic of Bush and the United States, has allied himself with U.S. opponents Cuba and Iran and has led a resurgence of left-wing populism in Latin America.
"The devil himself is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Right here," Chavez said as he stood at the U.N. podium where Bush spoke the day before.
"It smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of," Chavez said.
His remarks drew applause from many of the delegates.
The Anchoress has more, including Bill Clinton's "nuanced" response to Chavez.