WASHINGTON — After conservative TV host Glenn Beck highlighted political consultant Robert Creamer's criminal record and his visit to the White House, Creamer fired back Wednesday, calling Beck part of a "new, McCarthyist movement of the far right."
Creamer, 62, is the husband of U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. In 2006, he was sentenced to five months in federal prison for bank fraud and a tax violation.
On Tuesday, Fox News host Beck said of Creamer: "Forget the measly $2 million he stole from banks. What? Please, banking fraud, who hasn't done a little $2 million theft?"
Creamer was convicted in a check-kiting scheme to keep afloat an Illinois consumer group he had led. A federal prosecutor said Creamer "stole" money from banks in the form of unintended, interest-free loans.
Beck also hammered Creamer for attending the Nov. 24 state dinner at the White House with Schakowsky. And he maintained a book Creamer wrote — a "prison manifesto," in Beck's words — was the basis of the president's health care reform initiatives.
Talking about Beck, Creamer said: "This is a man who lies about everything. He frames things in a conspiratorial, surreal light."
"It is important," Creamer said, "for the targets of the smear machine to push back and to use whatever kind of means we can to prevent him from continuing these kind of reckless charges."
Creamer acknowledged writing part of his book, "Listen to Your Mother: Stand up Straight! How Progressives Can Win," while in prison. But he said it was "laughable" to view it as the basis for the Obama health care policies. "I wish I had that much influence over the White House, but I don't," Creamer said.
Schakowsky said Wednesday that Beck was "on attack now" because health reform is within sight.
Creamer is president of Strategic Consulting Group, a political consulting firm with offices in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. He has been working with groups including Americans United for Change for health care reform. That group, in an e-mail Tuesday to supporters, characterized Beck as a "conservative shock jock" and urged its followers to buy Creamer's book.
Another group blasted Beck on Wednesday. After Beck appeared to purposely mispronounce Schakowsky's name on the air, the Piast Institute, which promotes understanding of Poland and Polish Americans, declared: "The prejudice the Polish-Americans have suffered has usually begun with the mockery of our names."
But Creamer said his wife is not Polish — she is a descendant of Russian Jews. He added, though, the Piast Institute's concern applies "as much to Russian Jews at it does to Poles."
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