John McCain took to the Senate floor today to discuss Huma Abedin—known variously for her work at the State Department under Hillary Clinton and for her marriage to sexting ex-congressman Anthony Weiner. Is McCain perhaps a People magazine subscriber, using his time in the chamber to congratulate Abedin on the charming family photo unveiled by the mag today?
Alas, no. McCain was defending Abedin against recent accusations made by Rep. Michele Bachmann that Abedin's security clearance should be questioned due to alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. "I understand how painful and injurious it is when a person's character, reputation, and patriotism are attacked without concern for fact or fairness," McCain said according to prepared remarks. "It is for that reason that I rise today to speak in defense of Huma Abedin."
The Huffington Post's Jason Linkins unpacks the story: Bachmann recently started an inquiry as to whether Congress has been infiltrated by members of the Muslim group. After fellow Rep. Keith Ellison raised questions about her sourcing, Bachmann replied with 16 pages of evidence, leading with accusations about Abedin's family ties.
Back to McCain:
Ultimately, what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one person. This is about who we are as a nation, and who we still aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sect or ethnicity, but by a set of enduring, universal, and equal rights that are the foundation of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry, and our identity. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.
In an appearance this morning on Current TV, Ellison said of Bachmann's inquiry, "This is all about waving a red bloody flag and trying to get people to be hysterical and afraid and gin up the hate machine."