'A big f------ deal,' 'man up,' tickles and more: The top 10 political quotes of 2010

'A big f------ deal,' 'man up,' tickles and more: The top 10 political quotes of 2010

Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE’s use of profanity, a New York congressman’s admission of groping and a denial of witchcraft were among the top 10 political quotes of 2010.

The healthcare reform debate is featured in several others, ranging from a Texas lawmaker’s outburst of “baby killer” to President Obama’s admission that he and his party took a “shellacking” in the midterm elections.

ADVERTISEMENT
Democrats were jubilant after they narrowly passed the healthcare bill in March, as evidenced by Biden’s comment to Obama that it was “a big f------ deal.”

While Democrats won that legislative battle, Republicans won the message war on healthcare, capturing control of the House and reducing the Democrats’ majority in the Senate in the November elections.

The top 10 political quotes of the year follow in chronological order.

“Not true.”
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito during President Obama’s State of the Union address, Jan. 27

Alito mouthed these words as Obama ripped the Supreme Court for its decision in the high-profile Citizens United case. The left and right debated who was more out of line — Obama for scolding the justices or Alito for clearly taking umbrage with the president’s remarks. The debate continued throughout the year as Democrats tried to pass a campaign finance measure, but their effort fell short in the Senate.

“Yes, I did. Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and four guys jumped on top of me.”
Former Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) to conservative commentator Glenn Beck on Fox News, March 10

As allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Massa, the New York congressman abruptly announced his resignation, citing health issues. The 50-year-old lawmaker proclaimed his innocence on Beck’s show, but acknowledged his interaction with male staffers was inappropriate. The House ethics committee is still investigating.

“Baby killer!”
Rep. Randy NeugebauerRobert (Randy) Randolph NeugebauerCordray announces he's leaving consumer bureau, promotes aide to deputy director GOP eager for Trump shake-up at consumer bureau Lobbying World MORE (R-Texas), during Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich.) speech during the healthcare reform debate, March 21

Neugebauer’s outburst came soon after Democrats secured Stupak’s support for healthcare reform, clearing the way for its passage in a rare Sunday House session. Stupak had led a group of anti-abortion-rights Democrats who called for changes to the health bill. The Michigan lawmaker didn’t get exactly what he wanted, but he got enough to vote yes on the legislation. Neugebauer apologized for his comment, which he said had been, “It’s a baby killer." The Texas legislator claimed he was expressing frustration at the deal, not Stupak. Stupak, who received death threats throughout the healthcare debate, later announced he would not seek reelection.

“This is a big f------ deal.”
Vice President Joe Biden to President Obama at the healthcare reform signing ceremony, March 23

The vice president was right in many ways — Democrats had been trying to revamp the nation’s health system for decades. This year, they got it done, without the support of a single Republican. But the outrage over the massive health law fueled the growth of the Tea Party movement, and helped Republicans win the House in November.

“One thing I know for sure is that Democrats will retain their majority in the House of Representatives.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during an interview with The Hill, May 19


A buoyant Pelosi uttered these words after Democrats retained the late Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) seat in a special election, noting that attacks on her didn’t work. But GOP salvos against Pelosi escalated in subsequent months, driving her approval numbers to new lows. Republicans won the healthcare reform messaging war in the fall and picked up 63 House seats, more than they won in 1994. Pelosi later surprised many by announcing her candidacy for minority leader, which she won despite criticism from conservative Democrats.

“I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is — again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) to BP CEO Tony Hayward during a House hearing, June 17

Barton’s quote came as the White House was trying to fend off criticism of its handling of the oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. And the administration pounced, using Barton’s line in speeches to differentiate Democrats from Republicans. Barton quickly apologized for his apology and survived calls for his ouster as the Energy and Commerce panel’s top Republican. After the election, Barton sought a waiver to become chairman of the powerful panel in the 112th Congress. House Republican leaders denied that request.

“They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs during interview with The Hill, Aug. 10

Gibbs let loose on the “professional left” for its criticism of Obama, triggering many liberals inside and outside of Congress to fire back. The comment captured the frustration of many in the White House who have been criticized by liberal pundits on a variety of issues, most notably not getting a public option in healthcare reform. Two House Democrats called for Gibbs to resign or be fired after The Hill published his remarks.

“I’m not a witch.”
Christine O’Donnell in a campaign ad, Oct. 4

O’Donnell shocked the political establishment by knocking off Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in the state’s Senate GOP primary. Yet O’Donnell’s momentum didn’t carry over to the general election. Her campaign ad sought to put an end to chatter about her 1999 comment that she had dabbled in witchcraft. The strategy backfired and the ad was labeled one of the worst ever.

“Man up.”
GOP Senate hopeful Sharron Angle to her opponent, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidWhite House seeks to shield Biden from GOP attacks on crime issue Lobbying world Warner backing 'small carve-out' on filibuster for voting rights MORE (D-Nev.), Oct. 21

During their only debate, Angle publicly urged Reid to take responsibility for the nation’s woes. Reid got the last laugh, however, defeating the Tea Party favorite by a surprisingly comfortable margin. Reid’s triumph sparked finger-pointing in GOP circles about the effectiveness of Tea Party candidates in the general election. Republicans cut into Reid’s Democratic majority, but their dream of recapturing Senate control was put on hold for at least another couple of years.

“It feels bad.”
President Obama during a post-election press conference, Nov. 3

The president called the midterm elections “a shellacking,” acknowledging voter angst over the ailing U.S. economy. He said, “Some election nights are more fun than others. Some are exhilarating. Some are humbling.” Obama quickly shifted after the midterms, embracing a GOP plan to freeze pay for federal workers and striking a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts. While some liberals seethed over the tax deal, Obama scored major victories in the lame-duck session, including ratification of a U.S.-Russia arms treaty and repeal of the Pentagon’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.