Astonishingly, this morning’s Washington Post actually publishes the complete word that Dick Cheney uttered this week when arguing with Senator Leahy.
No asterisks, no censoring… just the whole thing, right there in black and white.
In this era of careful parsing and interpretation of the rules, this little bit is comforting:
There is no rule against obscene language by a vice president on the Senate floor. The senators were present for a group picture and not in session, so Rule 19 of the Senate rules — which prohibits vulgar statements “unbecoming a senator” — does not apply, according to a Senate official. Even if the Senate were in session, the vice president, though constitutionally the president of the Senate, is an executive branch official and therefore free to use whatever language he likes.
I have decided to put a new phrase into circulation. Whenever someone uses rough language around me, I’ll say, “Whoa there! Where do you think you are, the U.S. Senate?!”