Tea party planner says she made 'hanging' remarks

SPOKANE, Wash. -- An organizer of a weekend "tea party" gathering in eastern Washington said Thursday she was the speaker who drew applause from the crowd by calling for one of the state's Democratic U.S. senators to be hanged.

But Dianne Capps of Clarkston said her remark about Sen. Patty Murray was taken out of context, and what she meant was that Murray should be voted out of office in November.

"Nobody had a rope to hang Patty Murray," she said.

Capps' comment Saturday at the Lewis & Clark Tea Party Patriots meeting at the county fairgrounds in Asotin, Wash., were captured by television station KLEW of Lewiston, Idaho. While speaking to the crowd from the podium, Capps said Murray should suffer the same fate as the character Jake in the western "Lonesome Dove."

"What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd?" Capps asked. "He got hung. And that's what I want to do with Patty Murray."

The crowd erupted in laughter. Organizers estimated about 500 people attended the event.

Capps, who initially denied to The Associated Press that she was the speaker, said Thursday night that the rest of the statement was that she wanted to "hang Patty Murray, by vote."

She contended the television news report edited out part of her statement. But KLEW news director Greg Meyer told The Lewiston Tribune newspaper that the unedited footage from the rally contains no statement from Capps about hanging Murray with votes.

Earlier Thursday, Murray's campaign manager said the comments were unproductive.

Carol Albert said Murray shares the frustrations of many people at the slow pace of the economy and partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C.

"But positions like that taken by the Tea Party spokesperson have never solved a problem," Albert said in a statement. "What people want right now is for people to come together to find solutions, not more rhetoric that drives us apart."

Murray, a liberal senator from the Seattle area, is seeking a fourth term. Among the Republicans who have announced plans to challenge her are two small-government conservatives: Clint Didier, an eastern Washington farmer who formerly played football for the Washington Redskins, and state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver.

Didier has participated at previous tea party events, but it was unclear if he attended Saturday's gathering. His spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The meeting also featured signs that read "Geld Obama" and "B.O. Stinks."

The tea party movement has brought together a broad coalition of retirees, stay-at-home moms, small-business owners, corporate executives and others who are frustrated about the direction of the nation and want to take back control.

The coalition is decidedly conservative and libertarian, and has spoken out harshly against President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. They have also been critical of Republicans.

Asotin sits near the Idaho border and is about 100 miles south of Spokane.