Pa. congressman’s office goofs with outdated letter chiding Arafat and Sharon

    Congressman Joe Pitts is doing a little bit of damage control after a constituent letter made him seem years behind the times on foreign heads of state.

    Pitts’ office says the congressman, a Pennsylvania Republican, does, in fact, know that former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is in a coma and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is dead.

    But one wouldn’t know it from reading about a constituent letter sent by Pitts’ office last month and reported by the news site Mondoweiss.

    In it, Pitts writes that it is “incumbent” on Sharon and Arafat to restart peace talks.

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    “All right, yeah, this is particularly embarrassing,” says Gabe Neville, Pitts’ chief of staff in Washington, D.C.

    The contents of the letter and its mailing amount to a “double mistake,” he added.

    “Language that should’ve been archived from literally 10 years ago was included in a draft response,” Neville explained Tuesday.

    The outdated form letter was pulled from the mail pile a year ago. Sometime since then, it was added back into outgoing mail, he said.

    He says the mistake is not a reflection Pitts’ awareness of international relations.

    The lawmaker who represents the Lancaster area has served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Human Rights Commission.

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