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Legislator in Twitter trouble over 9/11 language

Colorado State Sen. David Schultheis

A Colorado legislator has been blasted by local and national news outlets for sending an online Twitter message, or tweet, that criticized President Obama with language some say is a reference to United Flight 93, which was hijacked and crashed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Earlier this week, state Sen. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, posted the words, “Don’t for a second think Obama wants what is best for U.S. He is flying the U.S. plane right into the ground at full speed. Let’s roll.”

After the comment was picked up by the blog ColoradoPols.com, angered citizens and media outlets interpreted Schultheis’ words as comparing Obama to a terrorist and invoking the victims of Flight 93’s rallying cry to overcome the hijackers, “Let’s roll.”

Schultheis told the Denver Post he was simply angry about the president’s fiscal policies and didn’t mean to compare Obama to the hijackers.

“‘Let’s roll.’ It’s a comment people use all the time anymore. ‘Let’s get going. Let’s move on. Let’s make major changes,'” Schultheis said. “I can see it now. But you’re busy doing jillions of things during the day. You sometimes don’t analyze every single word.”

The Post’s editorial board and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, however, aren’t buying the legislator’s claim of making a general statement, only unintentionally invoking 9/11 language.

Olbermann selected Schultheis as winner of his talk show’s “Worst Person in the World” award. Video of Olbermann’s comments can be seen below:

Editor’s note: The video clip concludes with strong and potentially offensive language.

Olbermann charged the lawmaker, “Apologize, resign, get impeached – do something to make us forget that you just mocked the dead of 9/11.”

In fact, Schultheis did announce a few days prior to the controversial tweet that he would not be seeking reelection next year, but the statement has nonetheless drawn continued criticism.

The Post reports State Senate President Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, demanded that Schultheis retract his statement, calling it “appalling.”

The Post also printed its own criticism, drafting some tweets of its own in an editorial:

“DenverPost_EdBoard @Sen_Schultheis,” the Post writes, “Don’t think we buy your claim you didn’t mean to equate the president with terrorists. No one is buying it.

“DenverPost_EdBoard @Sen_Schultheis: We’re tired of the Birther culture you’re appealing to. Attack Obama on the merits of his agenda, but recognize Obama is sincere,” the paper opined.

Schultheis elaborated on the story and his intent behind the post on KHOW-AM’s Peter Boyles talk radio show:

“I will tell you what I was thinking,” Schultheis said. “I was so furious with all the stuff that Obama was doing to ruin this economy. I haven’t seen one thing he has done that has helped the economy. They all are designed to hurt it. He’s got Marxists, communists, and everything around him. He doesn’t have one free market person in his czar list. And it just absolutely angered me. And I thought this guy is taking this country down fast. And so I just thought of that. He is taking the U.S. plane down fast. And so, and then I said, ‘Let’s roll.’ That is the thing that came to mind. Like let’s get moving and get this thing turned around.”