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Burgess backs off support for Obama impeachment, frustrating tea party backers

After suggesting to a crowd of Tea Party constituents that he was interested in trying to impeach President Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville, backed off from his statement Tuesday.

At another town hall meeting Tuesday night, Burgess, a member of the House Tea Party Caucus, faced more impeachment questions from an unhappy crowd, which he declined to answer this time.

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/Michael_Burgess_Congress_portrait-150x150.jpgU.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Lewisville

The controversy began for Burgess a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting in Keller Monday night, where he faced tough questions over his support for the recently passed debt ceiling hike. One man told Burgess the congressman had “caved” over the debt ceiling, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. At another point, nearly everyone in the room raised their hands to show Burgess they disagreed with his vote.

And then this happened:

When one attendee suggested that the House push for impeachment proceedings against President Obama to obstruct the president from pushing his agenda, Burgess was receptive.

“It needs to happen, and I agree with you it would tie things up,” Burgess said. “No question about that.”

When asked about the comment later, Burgess said he wasn’t sure whether the proper charges to bring up articles of impeachment against Obama were there, but he didn’t rule out pursuing such a course.

The Star-Telegram followed that story with an editorial chastising Burgess for toying with the idea to keep the crowd happy. “Impeachment must never be allowed to become a political tool,” the newspaper wrote.

Burgess had no problem answering “no” when he was asked whether he would vote for another increase in the national debt limit. It could not have been hard for him to tell that “no” was what the crowd wanted to hear on that issue.

But he couldn’t seem to get his lips around the word “no” when asked about using impeachment of the president as the ultimate political tool.

Tuesday, Burgess clarified what he meant for Dallas Morning News, saying he was “was trying to honestly answer [the attendee’s] question.” Burgess told the Morning News he wasn’t really advocate for impeachment, and then wedged the door open a little further:

He added that there are more effective ways to tie up Obama’s agenda through House procedures.

However, Burgess said that had Obama exercised a provision of the 14th Amendment to unilaterally increase the debt ceiling, as some suggested the president do, impeachment proceedings were a possibility.

Burgess faced another unhappy crowd of constituents at Denton High School Tuesday night, which grilled him some more over the budget deal. According to a report in the Denton Record-Chronicle, Burgess got yet another impeachment question from the crowd, but wouldn’t bite this time:

Other questions touched on securing the borders, adhering closer to the Constitution, funding the wars, raising taxes, and comments Burgess made recently about impeaching President Obama as a way to tie up loose ends by procedural means. Amid more boos, Burgess skipped the questions and went on to address other comments made.

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