Bunning Is the GOP's Burris

Despite electoral peril and party pressure, gaffe-prone Kentucky senator won't retire
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Mar 6, 2009 7:05 AM CST
Senate Finance Committee member, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky. questions Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 4, 2009.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Senator Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher, may have absorbed too much “quitters never win” talk while still an athlete: The New York Times reports that the erratic Kentuckian won’t go away, despite his Republican colleagues’ best efforts. Bunning barely held his seat in 2004 after a series of bizarre gaffes; by recently predicting the death of cancer-stricken Justice Ginsburg and threatening to sue the GOP, he hasn’t exactly allayed concerns.

Bunning hasn’t appreciated the not-so-subtle suggestions that he step down. “When you’ve dealt with Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra and Stan Musial," he says, "the people I’m dealing with now are kind of down the scale.” Says Senator John Cornyn, the Republican senators’ coordinator on reelection: “We’re trying to give him space to make his decision.” “I don’t believe anything John Cornyn says,” Bunning replies.