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Friday, July 27, 2012

Cantor Declines to Criticize Bachmann Over Abedin Charges


Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, broke with other prominent Republicans and declined on Friday to criticize Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and other House Republicans who have accused a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodman Clinton of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ms. Bachmann and four other lawmakers last month sent a letter to the State Department charging that Huma Abedin, a deputy chief of staff in the State Department and a long-time aide to Ms. Clinton, may be a part of a group of Muslims with ties to terrorist organizations alleged to have infiltrated the federal government. Ms. Abedin is the wife of former Representative Anthony Weiner of New York.

Last week, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, made the unusual step of taking the Senate floor to condemn the accusation as “an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant.”

Mr. McCain was soon followed by House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, who called the unproved allegations “pretty dangerous.”

In an interview Friday morning on CBS' “This Morning“, one that focused largely on Mr. Cantor's opinions about Mitt Romney and the presidential campaign, the majority leader was asked by host Charlie Rose about his views and religious tolerances. Mr. Rose brought up Ms. Bachmann's accusations, asking Mr. Cantor if they were “out of line.” Mr. Cantor said he believed “her concern was about the security of the country.”

Many Congressional Republicans have been vocal in their criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood and possible homegrown terrorist groups in the United States, but few have been eager to link themselves to Ms. Bachmann's accusations.