Does Republican congressional candidate Ilario Pantano have a tattoo on his back? No, he says.
But he does have several others, and he guessed that this question came to MyReporter as a way to try to paint him — no pun intended — as unfit to represent the district because of his ink.
He said he sees it the opposite way, saying probably half of the 7th Congressional District has tattoos. (That might make an interesting poll).
“I meet a lot of veterans who have tattoos,” he said. “We have a lot in common. It’s an instant bond.”
Pantano’s largest tattoo are the words “MOLON LABE” in black letters across his chest. It is Greek for “come and take them,” according to Wikipedia. It was the expression of defiance used by King Leonidas in response to the Persian army’s demand that the vastly outnumbered Spartans surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. According to Wikipedia, it translates roughly to the modern English phrases “over my dead body,” “bring it on,” or “come and get it.”
Pantano said he got that tattoo in 2005, when he came back from Iraq and before his Article 32 hearing on accusations that he murdered two unarmed Iraqis. He was ultimately cleared of the charges.
“Iraq was a tough fight,” he said.
Pantano said his tattoos correspond to “different battles and fights in my life.”
He has a “meat tag” — a tattoo of his name, Social Security number and other information that could be used to identify him if killed in action. That was from the first Gulf War, where he was an anti-tank gunner, according to his biography on his Web site.
He also has a tattoo of the Marine Corps emblem from that time.
He has a band around his right arm from when he came home from the first Gulf War.
“My tattoos are pretty much all tied to my service,” he said.
Search “Ilario Pantano” on Google Images and you can find a photograph of the tattooed Pantano.
Pantano faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-Lumberton, in the Nov. 2 election. Justin Smith of McIntyre’s campaign said McIntyre doesn’t have tattoos.
Date posted: October 22, 2010
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