By Ann McFeatters
Pols say the darndest things!
We have culled from the masses of malapropisms, silly statements, dumb observations, and sadly few words of wisdom from our national leaders in 2014. Hope it gives you a better idea of what goes on in D.C.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner says he has a tough job that involves many roles. He told Jay Leno, "Some members, I have to be the big brother figure. Some, I have to be the father figure. Others, I have to be the dean of students or the principal. Some of them, I have to be the Gestapo."
Musing on future ambitions, he added, "I like to play golf. I like to cut my own grass. You know, I do drink red wine. I smoke cigarettes. And I'm not giving that up to be president of the United States."
Speaking of Boehner, President Obama said at a dinner in 2014 that House Republicans were giving the speaker an even harder time than they gave him, "which means orange really is the new black," referring to Boehner's famous orange tan.
It's hard to beat Obama's 2011 comment in Cincinnati as he extolled the virtues of the U.S., "We're the country that built the intercontinental railroad," or his boast that he had been in 57 states and still had one to go. Or his campaign declaration, "We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states. We coach Little League in the blue states and have gay friends in the red states."
In 2014, in New York, paying homage to the great soul singer Aretha Franklin, Obama mentioned her most famous song, calling it, "R-S-P-E-C-T."
While not a Washingtonian, Thomas Menino, who died in October after being Boston's mayor for 21 years, spent days hanging around the Capitol. He was overheard saying of another politician, "He was a man of great statue."
Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), who wants to be elected president in 2016, spoke about the tragic case of the New Yorker killed in a police choke hold for selling loose cigarettes on the street. Paul said on MSNBC that he was horrified but added, "I think there's something bigger than just the individual circumstances. ... I think it's also important to know that some politicians put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they've driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive."
(Paul, a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine and an ophthalmologist, should know about cancer and cigarette taxes.)
Hillary Clinton, who wants to be elected president in 2016, said, "When you're a woman, you know you're being judged constantly. I mean, it is just never-ending. And you get a little worried about, OK, you know, people over on this side are loving what I'm wearing, looking like, saying. And people over on this side aren't. Your natural tendency is, how do you bring people together so you can better communicate? I'm done with that. I mean, I'm just done."
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who wants to be elected president in 2016, campaigned furiously to help Republicans take control of the Senate. He said of his party, "We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel. We repeal Common Core." That is a reference to educational standards passed by individual states, not the federal government. He also pledged a 56th vote to repeal Obamacare. (It won't be repealed because Republicans lack the votes to override an Obama veto.)
New Jersey's Gov. Christie, who wants to be elected president in 2016, was confronted by a man holding a sign protesting that hundreds of Superstorm Sandy victims still had not received aid.
Christie told the man, "Guy, somebody like you doesn't know a damn thing about what you're talking about except to stand up and show off when the cameras are here." He told the protester to "sit down and shut up." (Two years after the storm, only $802 million of the $3.26 billion the federal government has provided to New Jersey has been paid out to homeless residents, leaving thousands without help.)
Sen. Harry Reid (D., Nev.), never known for his charisma and just deposed as Senate majority leader, was recalling being visited by Brad Pitt. As they posed for photographers, Reid asked, "How will they tell us apart?"
So many pols; so little time.