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Congresspeople Say the Darndest Things

30 July 2009
Written by

Here in the Speeches department, we put thousands of speeches into the PVS database each year. This repetitive task can be boring at times, but when we stop to read some of the speeches, we often have to fight the urge to laugh out loud. Forget about kids, we've found that Congresspeople really do say the darndest things!

Some quotations simply leave us scratching our heads. This one from Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a good example: "I'm not afraid of August. It's a month."

We've also found that Representatives often devise unique metaphors to spice up their speeches. From Representative Steve King, "Reclaiming my time for a moment, I would point out that the carbon credits are the modern-day equivalent of the reason that Martin Luther came forward and nailed his positions up on the Diet of Worms which is, the church was selling indulgences."

Other times, representatives use some interesting descriptive words.  Here's one example from Representative Sam Farr, "National parks have the significance of being national. And if you think that it's okay to carry guns in national parks, why not carry them into the National Cemetery, into the national White House, into the national Capitol, into the National Arboretum. The list goes on and on. This is a dumb amendment--and Congress should be embarrassed that we have to vote on it."

Other Congresspeople intentionally use humor to connect with their constituents. Representative Jeff Flake, for example, identifies an "Egregious Earmark of the Week" and then follows it with a snappy pun relating to the earmark. A few weeks ago he picked an earmark granting $475,000 for the creation of business incubators in Casper, Wyoming. Reflecting upon this earmark, Flake quipped, "Looks like earmark reform doesn't have a ghost of a chance this year."

Whether it's a slip of the tongue or a well-planned joke, Congresspeople say some pretty funny things. And thanks to the speeches department, you don't have to miss a single one!

-Julie Zorb (University of Notre Dame, 2011, Political Science and French Double Major, from Phoenix, AZ), Speeches Intern

Related tags: blog, Wyoming

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