(CNN) - Former Rep. James Traficant had a triumphant homecoming Sunday night, his first public appearance since being released from federal prison, a local paper reports.
The Youngstown Vindicator said Monday a supporter-organized welcome home dinner for the former Democratic congressman, which drew the capacity crowd of roughly 1,200 Sunday, included performances by an Elvis impersonator and a polka band, as well as a speech from Traficant himself.
The newspaper reported that Traficant was defiant, telling listeners that he'd "been hounded by some government people for a long time" and that the government "had to cheat to convict me."
"'If you want to know the true nature of a country, you must go through its prisons,'" said Traficant, quoting former South African leader Nelson Mandela, who spent nearly three decades in prison. "I know America. I've seen the other side of it, and I don't like it."
Traficant was released Wednesday after serving just over seven years in federal custody for charges that included racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery.
The Vindicator reported that Columbiana County Republican Chairman David Johnson, who tried to defeat Traficant for years, was on hand for the event, and said the former congressman would have his support if he mounted another bid for office.
"I would support (Traficant) tomorrow if he ran for Congress," Johnson told the paper.
One would think that with all the money he stole he would buy a toupee that looks real!
Once a crook, always a crook. Tell em what they want to hear.
His statement about life behind bars is relevant however. It's not just a place where you do your time, but it has its own political institutions. It is far rougher to carefully walk a fine line there. You are required to takes sides and swear allegiance to death.
Maybe that lesson will help Mr. Traficant handle life outside bars better than it did before he was convicted of the crimes he committed.
What a shame, people greeting this guy like he's a hero, he was sworn it to work for the American People, and didn't. It shows how people have their morals backwards, they should be welcoming soldiers back from war, ant throwing rocks at this guy. To me it doesn't matter what party your from, if your a thief, throw them in JAIL
Sounds like he is ready for an Obama cabinet position or at least a "czar" job. A liberal kind of guy.
Perhaps Obama has a place in his administration for him.
Just what we don't need another criminal in Congress.
Any wonder why politicians are getting more and more bold about their lying and corruption??
The IDIOTS that cheer this man get exactly what they deserve... unfortunately the rest of us do too.
WAKE UP AMERICA!
A Democrat evading taxes? Well there simply must be some mistake.
Some people will always try to justify what they do no matter how wrong it is. He will stand before God one day and truly pay for what he did.
Am I just imagining things, or did something in the prison make a nest in Traficant's head?
So is the dude with the wombat on his head going to switch to the Republican party, or will he be a "Blue Dog" Democrat?
"The Vindicator reported that Columbiana County Republican Chairman David Johnson, who tried to defeat Traficant for years, was on hand for the event, and said the former congressman would have his support if he mounted another bid for office.
"I would support (Traficant) tomorrow if he ran for Congress," Johnson told the paper."
In a democracy, the people always get the government they deserve.
David Johnson is just as sick as Trafficante. Why in God's name
would we want ANOTHER FELON in a Government Office???
The epitome of a liberal Democratic Congressman. Convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and bribery, and he of course blames the governement of denying him his right to do these things.
Simpletons are willing to vote for those to they can relate to, regardless of corruption. Our founders probably knew The Constitution was not sufficient. At least they tried. God, or fate, help us.
What a sad state for America – where a traitor to his own constituents gets a hero's welcome! Or is just an outpouring of the obvious stupidity of Americans?
With gesturing like this, America gets what it deserves!
Shouldn't the headline read "Cheers for ex-convict EX-congressman"?
He's as much an ex for his office as he is for his incarceration.
Convicted House Representative got a hero's welcome home.
Is it cool to have been in the jail now?
It's very hard to convict anybody these days. I wonder why these 1,200 supporters did not raise money for him to hire better lawyers to keep him out of jail in the first place.
Yet another corrupt Dem who craves power, makes pathetic excuses, refuses to take responsibility for his crimes, and believes he's entitled to an important government position.
The Dems would be idiots if the publicly embraced this guy.
Oh, come on!
Somewhere in all those charges is a teesie weesie one that is true!
We are looking more and more like a third world country. Worshipping convicts is usually the first step.
Comparing himself to Mandela ????
What an egotistical, arrogant moron Traficant is
What does he have to offer big business? Can he sell out the American people with bogus trade practices? If not he might as well stay home.
I'm sure there is a position in the new administration for him....OH WAIT, one just opened up, perfect timing. Green Jobs Czar.
You would think our tax dollars could have purchased a little better rug for this clown while in our prison wouldn't you? I wonder if he lost his Federal pension and healthcare plan subsequent to his felony convictions?