WASHINGTON - There were harsh words in the immigration debate today, when Rep. Trey Gowdy called senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer a "demagogic, self-serving, political hack" during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration reform.
The South Carolina congressman's remarks, in which he claimed to not know exactly who Pfeiffer is, calling him "someone named Dan Pfeiffer, who apparently works for the president," came at the end of the hearing to address the immigration status of undocumented immigrant children, known as DREAMers.
He was thanking the witnesses for their testimony and for being at the hearing "in good faith" when the harsh remarks against President Obama's senior adviser were lobbed.
"I want to compliment you and thank you for not being a demagogic, self-serving, political hack who can't even be elected to a parent advisory committee much less Congress, which is what Mr. Pfeiffer is," he said. "I want to thank you for not being that, and understanding these are complex issues, where reasonable minds can perhaps differ."
Gowdy was offended by a tweet Pfeiffer posted this morning criticizing the GOP controlled committee for considering a possible way forward on immigration that would grant citizenship to the so-called DREAMer children who were brought to this country illegally by their parents, but would not offer the same rights to their parents.
Pfeiffer referenced a La Opinion newspaper editorial and characterized the GOP immigration plan as "cruel hypocrisy."
"La Opinion nails the cruel hypocrisy of the GOP immigration plan: allow some kids to say but deport their parent," the tweet read.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended Pfeiffer for the comment earlier this afternoon.
"What Dan was pointing out is that La Opinion opposes the approach being taken by some Republicans, which would avoid the essential responsibility to address immigration reform in a comprehensive way," he said. "And what La Opinion makes clear is that a bill that would allow some so-called 'DREAMers' to stay in this country and become the Americans that they've long felt they were because of their status and the fact that they came when they were so young but then deport their parents is hardly a workable solution."
Carney added that President Obama believes immigration should be addressed comprehensively.
"That is the right thing to do. And the idea that you can - oh, I don't know - declare yourself to have been more committed than anyone to improve our immigration system and then have nothing to show for it is a little laughable," he said.
ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to this article