North Carolina: McHenry’s Challenger Disputes Iraq Account

Posted April 7, 2008 at 6:37pm

Retired Air Force lawyer Lance Sigmon (R), who will face Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) in the Tar Heel State’s May 6 primary, is disputing the lawmaker’s account of his spring recess trip to Iraq.

According to a video posted on YouTube, at a recent Republican dinner McHenry gave his version of a dust-up with a Green Zone security guard who wouldn’t let the tired — and apparently cranky — Congressman use the gym.

The guard “said I didn’t have the correct credentials,” McHenry told the crowd at the Lincoln County Republican Party dinner. “It was 5 o’clock in the morning and I hadn’t had any sleep. I was not very happy with this two-bit security guard.”

“I said, ‘I want to see your supervisor,’” the lawmaker continued. “The supervisor wasn’t happy with me … [and] escorted me back to my room.”

“It happens,” McHenry said, before adding that the gym soon after was rocketed by insurgents, killing an unidentified individual.

Sigmon continues to criticize McHenry for calling the guard “a two-bit security guard” and disputes the lawmaker’s recollection of exactly what happened — but without providing exact details himself.

“U.S. Embassy spokesman Philip T. Reeker said the facts were somewhat different, emphasizing that there were no fatalities from that rocket attack,” Sigmon said in a statement available on his Web site. “Besides his obvious contempt for a guard’s assigned duties, his belief that being a Congressman makes him immune to the rules and his exaggerated claim of exposure to hostile fire, what really bothers me is the Iraq trip itself.”

But McHenry said the dust-up is much ado about nothing.

“I regret using a poor choice of words to describe the foreign contractor,” he said in a statement, “but anyone who was there knows that I delivered a speech praising the heroism and sacrifice of those who are serving our country in harm’s way.”
— Matthew Murray