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With the year’s news cycle slowly coming to an end, Politico has published a list of this year’s top political quotes. Wouldn’t you know it, two Kentuckians made the list.
First, Attorney General and Democratic Senate Candidate Jack Conway:
“And secondly, when is it ever a good idea to tie up a woman and ask her to kneel before a false idol, your god, that you call Aqua Buddha?”
Many of the top quotes come from Senators or Senate candidates. Kentucky’s second entry is no different:
“Excuse me! This is a senators-only elevator!” — Kentucky Sen. Jim Bunning
Tracking politicians around the halls of Capitol Hill is difficult enough; it doesn’t help when you encounter a stiff rebuke from your subject upon finally finding him or her.
But that’s what happened to ABC’s Jon Karl when he caught up with the Kentucky senator as he got into an elevator in the Hart Senate Office Building. Karl wanted to ask Bunning about blocking a bill that would extend unemployment benefits, but in just eight words, Bunning made it clear that those would be the only comments he’d be offering on the subject.
The compromise cleared the Senate 81-19. Among other things, it calls for a 2-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts (all of them) and a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.
It looks like outgoing Senator Jim Bunning has not reconciled with his colleague Senator Mitch McConnell. Bunning told CN2 that when he leaves office he won’t miss anything, especially not the Republican leadership in the Senate. That would be McConnell.
Senator Jim Bunning used to hold weekly conference calls with the press. Rick Howlett covered them for WFPL. Bunning was talkative, and sometimes, these resulted in entertaining sound bites.
Bunning was asked about the poll numbers during his weekly conference call with reporters Tuesday. The Republican would say only that the poll was indeed conducted. He didn’t mince words when asked what that means.
“That means it’s none of your g**d*** business,” he said, laughing.
The conference calls stopped last year, and Bunning quotes–serious and not–aren’t as easy to come by. But recently, Bunning spoke at a northern Kentucky fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul.
“President Obama doesn’t know a darn thing about Kentucky.”
…To Democratic candidate Jack Conway:
“a poor little rich boy [who] never worked a day in his life, except as a lawyer”
…To Rand Paul himself:
“Rand Paul can succeed me and not do a great job.”
“In other words, he can succeed me in spite of himself.”
These are essentially the tropes of the campaign, and it’s unlikely this will give the Democrats as much ammo some of Bunning’s saltier language in the Senate. However, perhaps they can make hay out of Bunning’s statement that Rand Paul will continue the Senator’s voting record, if elected.
Here are a few stories of note:
Mandy Connell‘s Twitter page may shed new light on her “half-breed” comment. LEO has not confirmed that the account belongs to Connell, but it does reference personal and professional information that’s exclusive to her.
The New Yorker this week has a very interesting article by George Packer about the U.S. Senate. Both of Kentucky’s senators get several mentions, and Jim Bunning‘s name appears eight times. The references are sometimes meant humorously, but they illustrate Bunning’s relationship to his colleagues and his place in the deliberative body.
Observed from the press gallery, the senators in their confined space began to resemble zoo animals—Levin a shambling brown bear, John Thune a loping gazelle, Jim Bunning a maddened grizzly.
It became clear which senators were loners (Russ Feingold, Daniel Akaka) and which were social (Blanche Lincoln, Lindsey Graham); which senators were important (Dick Durbin, Jon Kyl) and which were ignored (Bayh, Bunning).
Twenty-three amendments had been voted down, and the Republicans were proposing a fresh batch. “Can we get some order?” Bunning growled, before he introduced a proposal to let senior citizens opt out of parts of Medicare. It was the only amendment that any Republicans joined the Democrats to defeat.
During one recent Republican lunch, Jim Bunning referred to Harry Reid as an idiot.
Sarah Binder, a congressional scholar at George Washington University, said, “To have a chamber that rules by unanimous consent—it’s nutty! Especially when you’ve got Jim Bunning to please.”
Later that month, Bunning spent several days and a late night on the Senate floor, filibustering to prevent benefits from being paid to millions of unemployed Americans. When Merkley tried to reason with him, Bunning responded, “Tough shit.” (Eventually, Republicans persuaded Bunning to stop.)
The Pennsylvania man who allegedly threatened Senator Jim Bunning via e-mail is expected to plead not guilty today, says Bluegrass Politics:
Bruce Shore, an unemployed sales representative, said he sent an angry e-mail to Bunning’s office in February after Bunning single-handedly blocked a vote to extend unemployment benefits for several days.
In the e-mail, which Shore provided to the Herald-Leader, he asked if Bunning was “insane” and told him that “no checks equal no food for me.”
“If this political grandstanding does not end today — we will come to your offices and make our point. You are playing a life and death game here. Do you get it.” he wrote in all capital letters. He signed the letter Brad Shore.
The full article has Shore’s response and points out that Bunning’s offices were inundated at the time with complaints.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Rand Paul has received an endorsement from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.
DeMint’s nod rivals Paul’s opponent Trey Grayson‘s endorsement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
DeMint is a Tea Party favorite and may be eying McConnell’s leadership post. If Paul wins, it will put Kentucky’s two senators at odds on many issues. That’s nothing new, though, as McConnell and outgoing Senator Jim Bunning (who also supports Paul) were no model of teamwork.