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The Boston explosions, politicized

explosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-02-01/wor...

-- Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) April 15, 2013

Two explosions went off this afternoon at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and already the issue has been politicized.

"[E]xplosion is a reminder that ATF needs a director. Shame on Senate Republicans for blocking apptment," New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who is in Boston, tweeted on Monday afternoon.

(WATCH: Breaking news reports on Boston Marathon explosions)

In January, President Obama nominated B. Todd Jones as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which has been without a director since 2007. Weeks later, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized Jones and indicated that the Senate would move to block his nomination. Jones currently serves as acting-director of the ATF.

Kristof's tweet earned a number of responses expressing either anger or bafflement.

"Bombs blow up even when the ATF is fully staffed," one follower wrote.

"This is NOT the time to play politics. Normally with you...but really bad form, man. REALLY bad," wrote another.

As of 4:30 p.m. ET, police report that two people are dead and 22 injured. The cause of the explosions are not yet known.

UPDATE (4:37 p.m.): Kristof takes it back:

People jumping on me for criticizing Sen Repubs for blocking ATF appointments. ok, that was low blow. i take it back

-- Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) April 15, 2013

UPDATE (6:06 p.m.): Bloomberg View's Jeffrey Goldberg weighs in:

Part of talking for a living is knowing when to shut up. It is obviously true that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives needs a director. It might even be true that Republicans could try a lot harder to put a director in place. But after an explosion about which we know almost nothing, and in the face of sudden, violent death at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, this is not the time to guess about the perpetrators or to recommend policy fixes that would prevent such attacks from taking place. It certainly is no time to suggest that a political party you happen not to like is to blame for a tragedy about which you know nothing.



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