Pittsford, N.Y. --- In telling his side of the story, former Congressman Eric Massa tackled a host of accusations levied against him, but he also threw his own punches.
One of Massa’s targets was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Before Emanuel took on that title, he was chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the 2006 mid-terms. That was the same year a political newcomer named Eric Massa stepped onto the stage in search of a trip to Congress in the 29th District of New York.
Massa broke his silence on Sunday during a radio broadcast at WKPQ 105.3-FM in Hornell--when he spoke of his health concerns, a potential cancer relapse, a House Ethics Committee investigation, and of Emanuel.
"Rahm Emanuel is Son of the Devil's Spawn. He is an individual who would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive," Massa ranted.
Massa then detailed a nude encounter in the shower with Emanuel shortly after he took office in January 2009: "I'm sitting there showering naked as a jay-bird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me."
Massa hit the talk shows Tuesday and only “sarcastically” backed down from those statements in interviews with CNN’s Larry King and FoxNews’ Glenn Beck.
"He and I are not friends, and by the way I owe him an apology, because on the radio show I said he'd tie his kids to the railroad to get a vote,” Massa told Beck. “He wouldn't do that; he'd tie my kids to the railroad to get a vote, but maybe not his."
The roots of their relationship may trace to Massa’s 2006 campaign. Portions of that campaign were documented in a Discovery-Times film titled “Taking the Hill.” It’s there that one finds Massa preparing his children for a campaign visit where Emanuel will be present.
"Today congressman Rahm Emanuel is coming to see us, so remember, it's 'Yes sir and no sir, Congressman Emanuel,'" Massa told his son and daughter en-route to the Rochester campaign stop in the film. Once there, the camera and microphone catch a cordial greeting between Massa and Emanuel and then a subtle piece of advice from Emanuel.
“I don't want you on TV tonight to be angry. Just take it down a notch," Emanuel advises. The advice is later followed up with more stern orders from the party boss as he parts ways with Massa following a fundraiser later that day. Emanuel pulls Massa aside and the cameras catch this exchange, complete with Emanuel tapping Massa’s chest with some rolled up papers:
Emanuel: "You’ve got to raise $200,000 per month for the next four months.”
Massa: “I know.”
Emanuel: “Otherwise it ain't going to happen.”
Massa: “I agree.”
Emanuel: “So don't let your family down. Second, you've got to smile, have fun. If all people see is anger they'll see anger.”
Later on in the car ride home, the film shows Massa summarizing the encounter with an aide in the vehicle. "Rahm Emanuel told me I'm too uptight,” Massa’s is saying. “Now for him to say I'm too uptight-- he's a pretty serious guy. I've never seen him smile once."
A White House Spokesman asked to comment on this 2006 encounter referred us to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ comments that Massa’s remarks this past week were “silly and ridiculous.”
So far, our attempts to reach Massa about the matter have been unsuccessful.