The Indiana Republican, who returned Tuesday from two days in Iraq with three other federal lawmakers, drew media attention after making the comment to The Washington Post after visiting a Baghdad market Sunday. That story was published in The Indianapolis Star.
Several news organizations reported that Pence and the other lawmakers wore bulletproof vests to the market, which was fortified with blast walls and barriers after a February truck-bomb attack that killed 137 people. The New York Times reported that they also were joined by more than 100 soldiers and had attack helicopters overhead.
Pence, one of the most outspoken backers of continued U.S. involvement in Iraq, said Tuesday he sensed only 20 to 30 American soldiers amid the thousands of Iraqis and was not aware of another occasion when visiting members of Congress were taken outside Baghdad's secure Green Zone.
"I would never have suggested that . . . a Baghdad market is as safe as the Bargersville (Ind.) flea market," Pence told reporters in a Tuesday call. "I just meant that that's what it looked and felt like: There were lots of people, there were booths. . . . For all the world, it felt very familiar to me."
I keep hearing supporters of the war effort claiming the media is misreporting the true events in Iraq, but the number of deaths and casualties is undisputable. I sometimes think supporters like Rep. Pence only see what they want to see on these highly controlled visits to the region.