Massa Uses Video Flap to Emphasize Independence

Posted August 18, 2009 at 10:56am

New York Rep. Eric Massa sought Tuesday to tamp down the furor growing over a Web video of him making the Internet rounds, in which he says he would “vote against the interests of his district if I actually think what I’m doing is going to help them.” And he tried to use the exchange to play up what has been a recurring theme of his current term in Congress and likely his 2010 campaign — his political independence.

The video, which was shot at Netroots Nation a conference for liberal activists in Pittsburgh over the weekend, was first posted on the Washington Times Web site Monday. In it, the freshman Democrat is recorded telling a small group of attendees that he supported a single-payer system for health care and would vote for health care legislation that included it even if it was opposed by the majority of his district.

Conservatives caught hold of the video and declared it a sign that Massa was willing to betray his constituents to push a liberal agenda. And they will no doubt try and use it as ammunition in going after the congressman, who represents one of the most conservative districts in New York and is a top Republican target in 2010.

But in a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning, Massa didn’t seem to see what all the fuss was about.