Sen. Coburn: I'm no Byrd

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) works among a fair amount of senior citizens in the upper chamber and he thinks a lot of them need to get a life. Addressing the Heritage Foundation last week, Coburn noted that he has pledged to serve only two terms in the Senate. But the 57-year old didn’t stop there. He said, “Why would you want to be up here when you’re 68 years of age? If you have any type of life, this is the last place you’d want to be.” Maybe he should ask the 29 senators who are 68 or older.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) works among a fair amount of senior citizens in the upper chamber and he thinks a lot of them need to get a life.

Addressing the Heritage Foundation last week, Coburn noted that he has pledged to serve only two terms in the Senate. But the 57-year old didn’t stop there.

He said, “Why would you want to be up here when you’re 68 years of age? If you have any type of life, this is the last place you’d want to be.”

Maybe he should ask the 29 senators who are 68 or older.

Coburn then zinged the entire Congress by suggesting many lawmakers would be in different tax brackets if they weren’t on the public dole.

“There are a lot of people who are in the Congress that would never achieve in the private sector anywhere close to the remuneration they receive as a member of Congress,” he said.

Reid buries the hatchet with George Washington U.

At this rate, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) might not talk to his GOP counterpart, Bill Frist (Tenn.), until 2045.

Delivering the commencement address at the George Washington University Law School on Sunday, Reid said he’s been holding a grudge against the school since he graduated from there in 1964 and hasn’t set foot on the campus since.

Reid explained that, at the time, he and his wife had a young daughter and another child on the way, he was working six days a week as a Capitol policeman while attending law school full time, and his car had just died. Hoping for some advice, he sought one of the law school deans. The dean’s chilly response? “Why don’t you just quit law school?”

Reid said, “I don’t remember exactly what I thought he would say, but that was not it. … Since that day, I’ve harbored ill will towards this school. He was only one man, but his words stung, and they stuck with me for years.”

Reid apologized for not getting over it sooner, noting that such “pettiness” is “not how I’ve tried to live my life.”

Reid then made the inevitable segue to the nuclear option, stating that his “thoughts these past weeks have caused me to be conscious of advice and forgiveness.” He said eliminating the filibuster of judges would set an “illegal precedent.”

In calling for compromise, he instructed the graduates, “As an attorney, one of the lessons you will learn in arriving at a fair compromise or settlement is that a fair settlement must cause pain to each participant.”

Continuing his dig on Republicans, he closed by encouraging the lawyers of tomorrow always to “strive to win, but only to win fair and square. Because otherwise, the game isn’t worth the prize. And whatever you do, don’t quit. I hope this is better than the advice given to me here — 40 years ago.”

Maybe he just wants to see if we’re listening

Remember that T-shirt that said, “SEX! Just wanted to get your attention”?

Well, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) had something similar in mind last week. Speaking from the House floor as a member of the Rules Committee, Bishop asked for immediate consideration of the 2006 interior appropriations bill. But in the current political climate, he figured he needed to resort to some trickery in order to get the bill the attention he thought it deserved.

“Mr. Speaker, this bill deals with filibusters in the U.S. Senate,” Bishop said.

“Actually, Mr. Speaker, it does not,” he continued, “but until you say that magic word the media does not send its attention to the fact that the House is actually continuing on with the input of good government in our processes, so this bill actually, for which I am pleased to stand before the House and support the rule on the underlying legislation, is the Interior Appropriations Act.”

Memo to Bishop: It worked.

In paperback, Kitty Kelley lashes out at her critics

At a time when journalists are under attack for political bias and factual inaccuracy, local celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley isn’t backing down a bit from criticism of her controversial biography of the Bush family, The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty.

In the afterword of a just-issued paperback edition of the hardcover edition published last year — which sold some 715,000 copies — Kelley takes on those who accuse her of portraying the Bushes as a spoiled, dysfunctional family. She points out that a team of lawyers carefully reviewed this book, as well as her biographies of Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan, and that she’s never been successfully sued.

But she’s especially hard on the mainstream media. “I had broken the personal code of poodles on the Potomac,” she writes. “Do not speak ill of the powerful.”

She notes that CNN’s Larry King refused to interview her after admitting he wanted to keep his friendship with the president’s father, who called her “a liar and smear artist.”

She adds that President Bush “has doghoused the White House press corps so that they are almost totally dependent on scraps tossed over the fence by presidential spokesmen,” who, she said, called TV executives to keep her off the air.

Even though Matt Lauer of NBC agreed to interview her, she said made it clear he didn’t like doing so, while a New York Times reporter asked her if she ever had an abortion or did cocaine, charges she levels against members of the Bush family.

“I was sermonized by Lauer, patronized by CNN’s Aaron Brown, and chastised by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews,” she writes.

Kelley said that writing this book was “the most daunting, probably because I was writing about a sitting president and his quite secretive family in the midst of a contentious presidential campaign. The book is political, but it is not meant to be partisan.”

That blasted partisan majority! Oh wait, that’s us. Never mind.

If you were just flipping around the channels late last week and happened upon C-SPAN, it appeared that something dramatic was occurring on the Senate floor.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), talking about the so-called “nuclear option,” said, “This is about raw political power of a partisan majority.”

Could it be that Cornyn was siding with the Democrats?

Cornyn continued, “It’s clear that a partisan majority is now seeking to impose a new requirement.”

Stop the presses!

But wait — Cornyn then referred to the “partisan minority.” It quickly became clear that Cornyn had misspoken.

And both of Cornyn’s slips of the tongue never made into the Congressional Record. That record, after all, states what lawmakers meant to say, not necessarily what they said.

Said one Democratic leadership aide, “Seems like John Cornyn just gave away [Senate Majority Leader] Bill Frist’s [R-Tenn.] nuclear-option strategy. At least this time when Cornyn ‘misspoke’ he wasn’t linking judicial decisions to courtroom violence.”

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