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
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)

(Newser) – 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 fucking 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 fuck 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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Mar 28, 2010 1:47 AM CDT
I find it to be hypocrisy when partents tell their children not to say words like that "because it it not nice". However, the parents then turn around when the kids are gone and say the same thing. How can we teach our children the truth, when others like all the ones that think that what Biden said was cute, or funny, or OK because others before him have said the same or even worse. Our society gets used to hearing bad words and then it doesn't seem so bad to them. We need to watch what we say and becareful what we say in front of our children and maybe this roller coaster can be stopped.
Mar 24, 2010 9:34 PM CDT
Biden's latest was just a little trashy, given the situation. I sort of expect that an elected official (Biden or any of the others listed here) would have the ability or good sense to express himself or herself a bit more eloquently when in a very public place with lots of microphones.
Mar 24, 2010 7:58 PM CDT
It would seem to me the problem isn't that the person (any person) said a word they deem bad. But that there are stories like this that constantly want to bring it to our attention that the person (any person) said a "bad" word. I'm pretty sure Fuck is the most diverse word in the English language.