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GOP chairman: Obama 'close to death'

Democratic lawmakers are calling for the resignation of Virginia GOP Party Chairman Pat Mullins after he said at a GOP retreat that Obama is "close to death."
Pat Mullins, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, speaks at an election night party in Richmond, Va. Nov. 6, 2013.
Pat Mullins, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, speaks at an election night party in Richmond, Va. Nov. 6, 2013.

Democrats called on the chairman of the Virginia Republican Party to resign Monday over his attacks made against President Obama at an annual gathering of state GOP lawmakers this last weekend.

"Our president was elected on a series of lies," Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins said Saturday, according to Politico. "The American people are finally seeing the emperor without his clothes...Obama is so close to death that Terry McAuliffe is about to buy a life insurance policy on him."

The event marked the GOP's annual gathering in Hot Springs, Va., where the party came together this year to recuperate after suffering significant losses in the 2013 election, losing all three main races in the commonwealth. However state Democrats jumped on Mullins' comments--intended to attack both Obama and Democratic Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe in one brush stroke--as offensive. The insurance policy comment refers to an insurance fraud scheme linked to McAuliffe during his 2013 campaign. 

During an afternoon conference call Monday, Democratic lawmakers called for Mullins to resign over the comments. 

"Sadly, this isn't the first time Virginia Republicans have used offensive, violent rhetoric against President Obama," State Sen. Donald McEachin said, referencing a series of doctored images of Obama circulated by the Mecklenburg County Republican Committee in 2012 and another image of a "zombie" Obama with a bullet in his head sent out by the Loudoun County Republican Committee in 2011. 

"Saying that President Obama is close to death is unacceptable in our political discourse, and the chairman really should be ashamed of himself," McEachin said, according to Blue Virginia. "To my mind, this is yet another example of just how unwilling to change and how unbridled in their opposition to President Obama the Republicans are."

State Sen. Mamie Locke echoed that sentiment, and pointed to Mullins' comments that he looks forward to "taking the gloves off" as a sign that Republicans in Virginia have not learned from the results of the last election. "Today's Republicans are dominated and controlled by the right wing, and Chairman Mullins' comments indicate that the Virginia GOP's strategy going forward will be to continue kowtowing to the Tea Party. That's disappointing, especially coming off an election in which Virginia Democrats swept all three statewide offices for the first time in nearly 25 years," she said. 

A spokesman for the Virginia GOP told Politico the chairman meant to say that Obamacare, not the president, was "close to death" and accused Virginia Democrats of manufacturing outrage.

"This is just more manufactured outrage from Virginia Democrats," J. Garren Shipley said. "But the Democratic hyperventilation is unsurprising, since Obamacare is on life support, and our newly-elected governor is a Democrat who made money by betting on terminally ill patients to die. They're desperate to talk about anything other than their failed policies that are hurting hard-working Virginians."