A History of Political Cussing

Joe Biden will go down in history with these other respected figures
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2010 1:33 PM CDT
A History of Political Cussing
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden smile in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 23, 2010.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Quite a big deal has been made over Joe Biden dropping the F-bomb. “But America has a long and honorable tradition of top elected officials using salty language,” writes John Dickerson on Slate. Allow him to educate you:

  • Barack Obama: Famously called Kanye West a “jackass.”
  • Joe Biden: Oh no, this wasn’t his first time. After being greeted by a former colleague as “Mr. Vice President,” he responded, “Give me a f---ing break.”

  • George W. Bush: When discussing Syria in 2006, he said, “See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it's over.”
  • Dick Cheney: On the Senate floor, told Sen. Patrick Leahy to go f--- himself.
  • George HW Bush: When discussing his 1984 vice presidential debate performance, he said, “We tried to kick a little ass.”
  • Ronald Reagan: Though he refused to even spell out swear words in his diary, once resorting to the term “H—l,” he was accused in 1985 of cussing at a Congressman.
  • Jimmy Carter: The former prez did use “rough language,” but his funniest faux pas was unintentional: “I want to know the Polish people” was translated into Polish as, “I want to have carnal knowledge of the Polish people.”
  • Richard Nixon: Complained about Harry Truman’s use of “hell” and “son of a bitch,” but was later—thanks to the Watergate tapes—found to have used quite a bit of bad language himself.
  • Lyndon Johnson: Among the choice quotes attributed to him: “I never trust a man unless I've got his pecker in my pocket” and “I want someone who will kiss my ass in Macy's window, and say it smells like roses.”
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