Raúl Labrador has only been in Congress for a week, and he represents an Idaho district that’s about 2,400 miles away, so perhaps he can be forgiven for not knowing his local geography yet.
Appearing on NBC’s "Meet the Press" Sunday in the wake of the Arizona shooting melee, Labrador said, “Washington, D.C., last week had seven murders, and they have some of the strictest gun laws in the United States. So I don't know that it's the gun laws that are going to make the difference.”
Except there weren’t seven murders in the District last week. He seems to have confused the District with Prince George’s County, where there have already been nine murders in 2011. (No one on the "Meet the Press" panel questioned or corrected Labrador’s erroneous statistic.)
“I apologize the congressman misspoke earlier today in regard to the number of homicides in the District of Columbia this year,” his spokesman Phil Hardy said later. “He was trying to make the point that senseless acts of violence have no place in American society. Regardless of where we live, we should all work together to put an end to such acts and the sadness and tragedy they inflict upon our society.”
A slip of the tongue. But during his campaign against Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick, Labrador made an ad featuring Minnick accidentally saying he favored a “middle class tax increase” instead of “cut,” and even though Minnick corrected himself immediately, the Labrador spot omitted the correction. (The ad never aired, because it turns out the offending footage was copyrighted.)
Labrador, an attorney and former state legislator, defeated the national GOP’s preferred candidate in a primary last year with strong Tea Party backing, then defeated Minnick in November. He boasts consistent “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association. He has also been mentioned as a possible contender to lead the oversight subcommittee dealing with District affairs.
Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC