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3:19 PM

Attack of the Day 

King Wants "I Heart Baghdad" T-Shirt

Peter King plans his Baghdad slideshow.Photograph by Getty Images

Peter King should be breezing toward victory. The seven-term congressman from Long Island's Third District nabbed one of the ripest of post-9/11 plums, an appointment as head of the Homeland Security Committee. But this year, anyone with an R next to his name is in danger of losing, and King has received a tough fight from Democrat David Mejias. The challenger is positioning King as a hawkish conservative with close ties to Bush — a Ponyboy to the president's Johnny.

As you might expect, the closer the contest, the lower the blows. A debate last night devolved into King accusing Mejias of taking a donation from an area mosque with alleged terror ties. Mejias then accused King of fear-mongering while noting that King also received money from the mosque. Weird, right? It makes sense that an Al Qaeda–smooching Democrat might roll deep with the freedom-hating forces of evil, but a saber-rattling Republican? Turns out, King loves Baghdad.

He gave this speech (lovingly uploaded by Think Progress) in February 2006 in Merrick, New York. Recalling a recent trip to Iraq, he describes Baghdad as a veritable Soho on the Euphrates: "You're talking about bumper-to-bumper traffic, you're talking about shopping centers, you're talking about restaurants, you're talking video stores, you're talking about guys selling roses on the street corner."

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) Says That Being in Baghdad Is 'Like Being in Manhattan' [Think Progress]

Bush Stars in King-Mejias Debate [Newsday]