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Congressman Tom Tancredo’s fourth-place finish in last Saturday’s Iowa Straw Poll indicates that some people are actually taking him seriously as a candidate – and not just in this country. A few days earlier, protesters in Lahore, Pakistan, burned Tancredo in effigy, right alongside smoldering dummies of President George W. Bush and Senator Barack Obama. “Dath to Tancredo of America,” read one banner captured by an Associated Press photographer in the picture above.

And what did Tom “the Tank” do to earn this honor? Before the August 11 vote, he repeated his bomb-Mecca threat to a group in Iowa: “If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina.”

And Pakistanis were not the only ones to howl at that one. An official with the U.S. State Department suggested that it was time for presidential candidates to zip their lips regarding foreign policy, which inspired this comeback from Tancredo during the last Iowa debate: “Yes, the State Department -- boy, when they start complaining about things I say, I feel a lot better about the things I say, I'll tell you right now."

But Tancredo’s not off the hook entirely. A Pakistani lawyer has announced that if the candidate does not apologize, he will be sued for $500 million in damages for hurting the religious sentiments of 1.5 billion Muslims acround the world.

Remember, Tom: Where there’s smoke, there’s ire. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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