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A brief history of cursing in politics
"Slutbag" is just the tip of the iceberg
 
Anthony Weiner's aide isn't the first politico to use salty language.
Anthony Weiner's aide isn't the first politico to use salty language. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

For once, it wasn't Anthony Weiner being profane, but rather his communications director Barbara Morgan, who became a media sensation when she let loose a string of expletives to describe former campaign intern Olivia Nuzzi.

Morgan, reacting to a Daily News cover story about Nuzzi's unpleasant experience working for Weiner, claimed that the intern was incompetent and rarely showed up for work. Morgan also, in what she claims she thought was an off-the-record conversation with TPM reporter Hunter Walker, said this:

Fucking slutbag. Nice fucking glamor shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again. It’s all bullshit. I mean, it’s such bullshit. She could fucking — fucking twat. [TPM]

Morgan isn't the only person in politics who has dropped a few f-bombs. Here are a few of the most egregious cases of political potty mouth.

Joe Biden gets a little too excited about health care reform

Vice President Joe Biden isn't known for his verbal restraint. Usually, however, he doesn't deploy the f-word while at a press conference with the president. After health care reform passed in 2010, Biden shook President Obama's hand and told him, "This is a big fucking deal." Luckily for us, cameras were there to capture the moment.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says what everyone was thinking
It's not exactly standard practice for politicians to criticize their speeches as they give them. But New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's terrible, pun-filled introduction to the weigh-in at Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest was apparently too much for him to handle.

After uttering such lines as, "Now, let me be perfectly frank, this is one of my favorite traditions, I relish it so much," Bloomberg asked under his breath, "Who wrote this shit?" The audience, apparently agreeing with the sentiment, laughed.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel drops non-stop f-bombs
It's hard to pick just one example of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel using salty language. He is like the Andrew Dice Clay of the political establishment, inventing new curse words out of thin air, like when he referred to Washington, D.C., as "fucknutsville."

While his anger is usually reserved for his political opponents, he isn't afraid to lash out at people in his circle. In a meeting with a junior staffer while working as Obama's chief of staff, he once reportedly yelled, "Take your fucking tampon out and tell me what you have to say." He even verbally attacked Bo, Obama's dog, who he thought was distracting the president with his accidents. "I’m going to kill that fucking dog," he told Newsweek's Jonathan Alter.

Dick Cheney curses on the Senate floor
In 2004, Dick Cheney, then the vice president of the United States, told Patrick Leahy of Vermont to "fuck yourself" after the senator questioned Halliburton's contracts in Iraq.

It was, coincidentally, the same day that the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Defense of Decency Act.

George W. Bush insults the press

During the presidential race in 2000, then-candidate George W. Bush was campaigning with Cheney in the suburbs of Chicago when he spotted a reporter he didn't particularly like.

"There's Adam Clymer — major league asshole — from the New York Times," Bush said. Cheney replied, "Yeah, big time."

Richard Nixon gets caught cursing on tape
President Richard Nixon infamously recorded his conversations in the White House, a habit that got him in trouble during the Watergate investigation.

The tapes, released by the National Archives and Records Administration, confirm that Nixon used profanity regularly, like when he expressed his anger that the presidents of the Ivy League universities had come to visit him: "Holy shit. Sons of bitches — I wouldn't have seen them."

Lyndon B. Johnson practices profane diplomacy
President Lyndon B. Johnson was rather blunt when confronted by the Greek ambassador, who opposed a plan to split the small island of Cyprus between Greece and Turkey.

"Fuck your parliament and fuck your constitution," said the 36th president of the United States. "Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellow continue itching the elephant, they just might get whacked by the elephant's trunk."

Sources: The Atlantic; The Huffington Post; New York Daily News; New York Magazine; Salon (2); Turning the Tide, by Noam Chomsky; The Washington Post

 
Keith Wagstaff is a staff writer at TheWeek.com covering politics and current events. He has previously written for such publications as TIME, Details, VICE, and the Village Voice.

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