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Ron Richard opens mouth, inserts foot

Speaker Ron Richard was supposed to have a nice softball interview on FOX News yesterday to sell his new(est) plan for using the state's stimulus money. Yet even with the most favorable media opportunity imaginable, Richard still found a way to embarrass himself.

Speaking with Brian Sullivan, guest host of the "Your World" program, Richard stated in no uncertain terms that the Obama Administration had told him the new(est) plan was illegal:

SULLIVAN: You`re not supposed to be doing this, are you?

RICHARD: No, we have got a message from the OMB, from the vice president. They don`t like it. And they say it`s illegal, but we`re going anyway.

Republicans were quick to celebrate the interview as a smashing success. Rep. Mark Parkinson said Richard had done a "great job."  Scott Dieckhaus said Richard "sounded great." 

Except Richard didn't have any such "message" and he has absolutely no idea what the Office of Management and Budget or Vice President Joe Biden think about the plan.  It was a complete fabrication, which Richard was forced to admit almost immediately after completing the interview.

Reached for comment this afternoon, Richard clarified that he hadn't actually heard from the OMB or Vice President Joe Biden. 

Rather, he talked to a St. Louis reporter last night, who said he thought the administration officials might find the plan illegal.

Oops! Just random speculation from an unnamed local reporter. 

Oh, and remember that tough-guy promise to plow ahead even if it's illegal?  Not so much:

Richard has since directed the House lawyer, Don Lograsso, to look into the plan's legality. If it doesn't meet the letter of the law, he said, lawmakers will not pursue it.

Another day, another impressive show of foolishness.

Kudos to the Star and News-Leader for exposing Richard's bogus statements so quickly. Here's a full transcript of the interview:

BRIAN SULLIVAN, HOST: Well, the Show Me State wants to show its citizens the money -- in Missouri, House lawmakers looking to put stimulus cash back in taxpayer pockets, proposing a plan that would use $1 billion of state`s stimulus aid for a tax cut over the next two years.

Your next guest is leading that charge, Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard joining us now.

Speaker, welcome to "Your World"

I don't think the federal government is going to like this very much.


SULLIVAN: You`re not supposed to be doing this, are you?

RICHARD: No, we have got a message from the OMB, from the vice president. They don`t like it. And they say it`s illegal, but we`re going anyway.

SULLIVAN: You`re going anyway.

Why do it?

RICHARD: We think -- the budget chairman of Missouri, Allen Icet, and I believe, after talking with a caucus of Missouri Republicans, it's the best chance for Missouri to get money in the best place. And that's people's pockets.

You know, sooner or later, somebody has got to stand for something. Missouri House is common sense. We think it`s the right thing to do. We have been talking about it since January. A tax cut, we just thought was in -- the best opportunity for Missourians to make...


SULLIVAN: Who would -- who would get the tax cut? How would it work?

RICHARD: We would give it as -- as far as a half-percent tax cut to everyone that is paying taxes in Missouri now.

SULLIVAN: Everybody? Even the rich?

RICHARD: Somebody has to make a profit sooner or later, you know?

SULLIVAN: Yes. Well, listen, we agree. Missouri may be taking the lead here, but, like you said, the government is not going to like it. It sounds like the OMB, sending you the note already, they may not stop there.

How far are you willing to go with this?

RICHARD: We are going to test it.

SULLIVAN: So, are you are willing to fight for it?

RICHARD: Missouri taxpayers have had enough of spending in Washington, D.C. We don`t believe the Missouri House, Missouri Republicans want to be like Washington, D.C.

We would kind of like to be in the majority for years to come. We believe this is the perfect opportunity to show that we are different and we`re going to stand for something, which is good spending, and get it back to where people can spend the money themselves.

SULLIVAN: Well, you sound like you're standing for federalism, to be honest with you, on a bigger scale there, Speaker, because, you know, we used to have a time when states could determine their own destiny.

It also sounds like you believe that consumers may know how to use money more than governments.

RICHARD: That is a novel concept. We believe that, yes.

SULLIVAN: So, this is a big deal.

Is this going to happen? I mean, are you getting pushback inside the Missouri House? Or do you think this will pass?

RICHARD: No, we're -- our -- our House is solid behind my budget chairman, Allen Icet, and myself. Are we are looking go forward, yes, we are.

SULLIVAN: Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard leading the charge to give the money back to the citizens of Missouri, my mom`s home state.


SULLIVAN: She's from Saint Louis originally, so we like to hear it, Ron.

Thank you so much.

RICHARD: Thank you. Thank you.

SULLIVAN: All right.




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