New Ways and Means chairman has history of gaffes

Rep. Charlie Rangel's (D-N.Y.) may be stepping aside as House Ways and Means Committee chairman, but his  replacement could offer Republicans a similarly inviting political target.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who will take over the committee at least temporarily and perhaps permanently, is one of the most outspoken and controversial members of Congress.

Representing Calfornia's Bay Area, Stark is one of Congress's most liberal members and a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

And he has endured his own ethical controversies, being investigated and eventually cleared of claiming a Maryland tax exemption while having an official residence in California.

But he also has a history of gaffes and verbal outbursts that make him a highly polarizing figure.

Most recently, during the heat of the healthcare town hall frenzy this summer, Stark got in a verbal tussle with a constituent during the height of the healthcare town hall frenzy.

Accusing Stark of misleading constituents on healthcare reform, the constituent told the congressman not to "pee on my leg and tell me its raining."

"I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg," Stark shot back. "It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."

(See videos of Stark's various outbursts below.)

And in 2008, video surfaced of Stark lashing out at an interviewer who asked what the California Democrat considered "simple minded" questions about the national debt.

"Get out of here!" Stark eventually yelled. "Get the f*** out of here or I'll throw you out the window."

But more often than not, Stark's verbal jabs have been directed at his fellow lawmakers and public officials.

In 2007, Stark took to the House floor and lambasted Republicans for sending troops to Iraq "to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

He later apologized.

At a Ways and Means Committee in 2003, Stark famously called Rep. Scott McInnis (R-Colo.) a "fruitcake" after the Colorado Republican told Stark to "shut up."

"You little fruitcake. You little fruitcake. I said you are a fruitcake," Stark said, according to a transcript of the hearing.

"Are you big enough to make me, you little wimp? Come on. Come over here and make me. I dare you," he added.

Healthcare is a topic that has gotten Stark particularly riled up. He once called Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) a "whore for the insurance industries," and accused George H.W. Bush's HHS Secretary, Louis Sullivan, who is black,  of being "as close to being a disgrace to his race as anyone I've ever seen" due to his opposition to a national health insurance exchange.

See videos of Stark after the jump: