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Mike McCalister: I didn't lie. I have a bad memory

Two days after being personally asked about his misstatements over whether he "testified" before Congress, Republican Senate candidate Mike McCalister pens a written response (our initial backgrounder on the candidate is here). He said he didn't "lie" when he denied saying he testified before Congress. He said he just didn't remember saying it.

Here's his letter, which we cribbed from St. Petersblog:

Dear Patriot,

I’m writing to clarify an issue with you.  Yesterday, a Miami Herald reporter called me a liar.  At issue is whether or not I testified to Congress. I’m not a career politician who has spent years perfecting my rhetoric and changing my positions based on which way the political winds blow.  I speak from the heart, because I’m a regular guy who was inspired to stand up for our country, similar to how other Tea Party supporters were inspired to run as they watched Barack Obama mortgage our children’s future.

Although I didn’t recall saying it when asked by the reporter, I did say that I testified .When serving at the United Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Tampa, I had the opportunity to accompany the Deputy Commander, Lieutenant General (LTG) W. P. Tangney, as the Subject Matter Expert to a hearing.  The Army, like all other branches of the military, work as a team.  I sat under the bright Capitol lights with General Tangney, who relied upon my research and counsel to give accurate testimony to Congress. Although I wasn’t the person sitting behind the microphone, my position on the team was integral to the mission and I considered it our testimony, and the testimony of the United States military, which I so proudly served in for 33 years.

In fact, my Senior Rater, LTG Tangney wrote in my April 2002 Officer Evaluation Report (OER) that I “led the USSOCOM team at congressional hearing on military readiness, assisting [LTG Tangney] greatly in the testimony…”  In the same OER, my Rater, Major General Bargewell wrote that I was “tasked with leading a commander-directed Tiger Team on Special Operations Forces…Because of the high visibility study, [McCalister] was tasked with serving as subject matter expert for U.S. congressional testimony on Military Readiness and National Security.”

I served honorably in the Army National Guard, Army Reserves, and on Active Duty for a total of 33 years between 1971 and 2005.  I’m an average every day guy and candidate for U.S. Senate who believes our country is heading in the wrong direction.

Unfortunately, there are people out there that want to pick apart every word I’ve said or written.  They take one or two statements, and try to use them to define me and my candidacy.  Frankly, that’s why a lot of good people stay out of politics.