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Doofus Of the Week

US REP. ROBIN HAYES OF CONCORD

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Last week, Hayes came back from a one-day visit to Guantanamo with other members of Congress and proclaimed that "there could not be a finer facility" than the controversial detention center for terrorist suspects where prisoner abuse has been documented by the Red Cross. "The most astounding thing to me was how nice the prisoners are being treated," said Hayes, who argued that complaints about abuse at Gitmo came from people who are determined to "blame America first." He later said he was convinced he had not been snowed by officials at the detention center.

The next day, Hayes sealed his victory in the doofus sweepstakes when he appeared on CNN and argued forcefully with anchor Carol Costello that Saddam Hussein was "very much involved in 9/11."

It takes someone who is, at best, naïve to believe that Guantanamo officials wouldn't present a pleasant façade of the prison for the visiting lawmakers. But it takes a special kind of tunnel vision, not to say willful ignorance, to argue that Saddam had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks — a position even the architects of the Iraq war have long admitted is not true.

There's an old saying in Southern politics: a wealthy father will buy his dimmest son a job in politics to keep him from screwing up the family business. Hayes is a scion of the family that once owned Cannon Mills. He is also, incredible as it may seem, the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism.

- John Grooms

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