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Capuano now says he regrets urging union protesters to get 'bloody'

Posted by Metro Desk  February 23, 2011 05:46 PM

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US Representative Michael E. Capuano, who decried violent political rhetoric after last month’s fatal shooting rampage in Tucson, said today he regrets urging union workers at a rally in Boston on Tuesday to “get a little bloody.”

“I strongly believe in standing up for worker rights and my passion for preserving those rights may have gotten the best of me yesterday in an unscripted speech,” the Somerville Democrat said in a statement released this afternoon. “I wish I had used different language to express my passion and I regret my choice of words."

Capuano was referring to remarks he made Tuesday at a raucous rally of about 1,000 union workers who were outside the State House, protesting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his plan to limit public employees' collective bargaining rights.

"Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Capuano had declared to cheers, whistles and applause from the union crowd.

His remark raised eyebrows because Capuano was among the lawmakers who were calling for cooler political rhetoric after his Democratic colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the Tucson rampage that killed six other people last month.

At the time, Capuano had said the shooting was probably inevitable because of the nation's increasingly heated political rhetoric.

“Many of us were afraid for a long time that something like this would happen, with the level or the tone of the discourse over the last several years," Capuano told WGBH on Jan. 22. "It's gotten violent and personal.”

Capuano echoed that sentiment in a Jan. 9 interview with the Globe.

“Everybody knows the last couple of years there’s been an intentional increase in the degree of heat in political discourse,” he said. “If nothing else good comes out of this, I’m hoping it causes people to reconsider how they deal with things."

Capuano ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate last year and is considering a run against Republican Scott Brown in 2012.

Originally published on the blog MetroDesk.

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