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In Clemens's Corner: Dan Burton

If you've been following today's blockbuster House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing into steroids in baseball, you already know that embattled ace Roger Clemens appears to have at least one lawmaker firmly in his corner -- Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.).

Best known to the public at large as the Clinton administration's Grand Inquisitor during the 1990's, when he chaired the Government Reform panel, Burton is now essentially a rank-and-file member, and one of several lawmakers who met with Clemens last Friday in the run-up to today's hearing. As Barry Svrluga writes, Burton fiercely attacked the credibility of Clemens's accuser, former trainer Brian McNamee, this morning, telling the witness, "You're here under oath, and yet we have lie after lie after lie after lie. ... I don't' know what to believe. I know one thing I don't believe, and that's you."

Capitol Briefing caught up with Burton outside the House chamber during a break in the hearing, and the Indianan -- who set pretty wide parameters on subjects he could probe when he was chairman -- questioned why the House was even investigating the steroid issue.

"I think baseball and the legal system should be dealing with it," Burton said. "I don't think Congress should be messing with it."

Burton didn't say flat-out that he thought Clemens was innocent, only that the pitcher was "innocent until proven guilty" and should get "a fair shake."

"A guy like Clemens, even if he is completely cleared, he's been tarred and feathered by a lot of these people and I think that's unfortunate," he said.

But not everyone was buying Clemens's claim of innocence this morning. The seven-time Cy Young Awards winning pitcher listened stoically as committee chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) listed a series of inconsistencies in Clemens's own statements, and several other members piled on.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 13, 2008; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  Hearing Watch  
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"Watermelon" Burton only thinks like-minded people are innocent until proven guilty. Maybe he can reprise his watermelon shooting CSI skills to solve this case.

Posted by: GC | February 13, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I predict Burton will inject himself with Vitamin B12 in the ass just to prove that B12, rather than steroids, can cause an abcess like the one Clemens had.

Why is it that the Republicans all seem to be supporting Clemens (Issa in particular was pretty heinous)? Is it only because Clemens took the time to schmooze them? I'm obviously missing something.

Posted by: Vulture Breath | February 13, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

McNamee, Pettit, and Knoblach's statements taken together suggest that Clemens has more trouble coming after this hearing than before. As for Burton and the GOP let's just say they have never met a multi-millionaire superstar whose ring they wouldn't kiss. Their conduct was an insult to all fair minded people.

Posted by: | February 13, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Just another lying dog from Texas.....Clemens carries on a tradition that Bush has seemed to have legitimized....lie and let the Republican lapdogs pile onto the pursuit of the truth... say it ain't so, Joe....

Posted by: seakeys | February 13, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Was this a bad remake of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?" Burton came across as though he had been paid to throw the focus onto that "lying lying lying lying liar "McNamee and away from the Nanny forget her name i just happened to call her she's =such a nice person Clemmons.I though he was going to have a heart attack. He must have been soo proud of his performance.
It's too bad for the kids that Burton stands in the way of snitchers like McNamee.

Posted by: regina mcqueen | February 13, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

None of this should be in Congress. Baseball can hire whoever they want to investigate but this shouldn't be in Congressional hearings. It's absurd. Waste of taxpayer's $ when Bush's crimes are far worse than any of this steroid crap.

Enough already. Let's play ball.

Posted by: Here in Maine | February 13, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Congressman Burton. Congress has more important things to deal with. Like for instance the crooks, liars, etc. in the present administration. There is talk of War Crimes Trials yet to come. That to me is more bothersome than Rogers Clemas et al and alleged steroid use. I can not believe with all that Congress has on their plate they are wasting our time with Roger Clemens.

Posted by: Spartan | February 13, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Yup, Congress has better things to do with their time than this....except that baseball hasn't cleaned up its act and there's nobody else to turn to.

Big takeaway today: Clemens has entered Mark Magwire-land. No matter what comes next -- DoJ, lawsuits, whatever -- he's not going to the Hall of Fame. He's done.

Posted by: Tom2 | February 13, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Burton's verbal fellatio of Clemens was just priceless. For an adulterer with a huge trail of campaign finance "irregularities," Burton sure has got a high horse.

Posted by: Burton swallows | February 13, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

They're not wasting time... they're saving time... to let Clemens get away with lying to government investigators would be to encourage everyone to do it in the future... wasting tons of time trying to get to the truth.

Posted by: kemurph | February 13, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

as a republican, i was ashamed to admit it today after listening to star struck morons like burton... good golly dan... i've got this guys autograph i'll give you!... just do your job instead of being a fan... indiana voters should be ashamed to call you a hoosier

Posted by: neal graf, wauseon, oh | February 13, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Sen. Burton has a big problem with McNamee lying, but he has absolutely no problem with Clemens lying. And make no mistake, Clemens did lie. By the way, in sordid affairs like this one, who else can you turn to but other sleazy fellows - like McNamee - to uncover the truth? Do you turn to priests when trying to uncover Mafia crime? Also, I am so tired of the Bush family wielding its power in this country. And make no mistake there, either. The Bushes, especially elder George, are playig instrumental roles in attempting to help Clemens, a native Texan. Finally, honesty apparently means nothing in America anymore. I abhor liars and cheaters to the core, and especially ones who refuse to come clean. Roger Clemens, a hero? Not in my book.

Posted by: Fermorules | February 14, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Burton is a lying, thieving coward...corrupt to the core. Perhaps a few decades in prison will give Burton a new perspective on life.

Posted by: John Galt | February 14, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I thought Patrick Kennedy was the dumbest member of Congress..Then I saw Dan Burton...Patrick your #2...A disgrace..for an autograph?

Posted by: James | February 14, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Burton's attact on Brian McNamee and his defense of Clemens beyond reason. Burton is a poor example of a truthful person after his affair and fathering a child while still being maried. Did he think about the truth then.

Posted by: Ron Howard | February 14, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

It is a sad day in America to see a slimeball like the Congressman from Indianna Dan Burton sit there on his high horse and kiss Roidger Clemens ass.

He who cheated on his wife, he who fathered a child with his "girlfriend" while he was married to his wife, he who never even bother to see his son whom he had with his wife.

Good old Republican family values and good gold Republican honesty.

This is the man who called McNamee a liar. Well done Indianna. You hicks there should be mighty proud of yourself to have this guy as your Congressman.

Posted by: Marc Johnson | February 15, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

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