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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Southerland among lawmakers who jumped in Sea of Galilee



southerland.jpgRep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, was among a group of GOP lawmakers and staff that jumped into the Sea of Galilee after a late night of partying, according to a story in Politico.

At least Southerland kept his clothes on. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., took the plunge -- nude.

"Many of the lawmakers who ventured into the lake said they did so because of the religious significance of the waters. Others said they were simply cooling off after a long day. Several privately admitted that alcohol may have played a role in why some of those present decided to jump in," reads the story.

Democrats jumped on the news. Al Lawson, who won the Democratic primary to take on Southerland, released a statement saying Southerland should explain what happened.

UPDATE 4:58 p.m. Southerland statement: “Last August I was privileged to participate in a congressional fact-finding trip to Israel without any expense to Florida’s taxpayers. As a member of Congress, the visit provided critically important insight into America’s relationship with our close Middle Eastern ally. As a Christian and a father, the visit was a blessing for my 21-year-old daughter and me that we wouldn’t trade for anything. At no time did I witness anything inappropriate and any effort to create a spectacle out of my participation in this trip is unfortunate and clearly engineered to score cheap political points.”

[Last modified: Monday, August 20, 2012 4:58pm]


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