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Senator Elizabeth Warren Silenced By Senate During Debate On Sessions Nomination

Elizabeth Warren

The Senate’s consideration of Jeff Sessions to be the next Attorney General was interrupted last night when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to rebuke Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren  for reading from a letter that Coretta Scott King, the wife of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sent to the late Senator Edward Kennedy and several other Senators back in 1986 when Sessions was up for a seat on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals during the Reagan Administration:

WASHINGTON — Republican senators voted on Tuesday to formally silence a Democratic colleague for impugning a peer, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, by condemning his nomination for attorney general while reading a letter from Coretta Scott King.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, had been holding forth on the Senate floor on the eve of Mr. Sessions’s expected confirmation vote, reciting a 1986 letter from Mrs. King that criticized Mr. Sessions’s record on civil rights.

Sensing a stirring beside her a short while later, Ms. Warren stopped herself and scanned the chamber.

Across the room, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, had stepped forward with an objection, setting off an extraordinary confrontation in the Capitol and silencing a colleague, procedurally, in the throes of a contentious debate over President Trump’s cabinet nominee.

“The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the chair,” Mr. McConnell began, alluding to Mrs. King’s letter, which accused Mr. Sessions of using “the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

Mr. McConnell called the Senate to order under what is known as Rule XIX, which prohibits debating senators from ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.”

When Mr. McConnell concluded, Ms. Warren said she was “surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate.” She asked to continue her remarks.

Mr. McConnell objected.

“Objection is heard,” said Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, who was presiding in the chamber at the time. “The senator will take her seat.”

The debate appeared to center, in part, on whether the rule allowed exemptions for quoted remarks — Ms. Warren had been reading directly from the letter from Mrs. King, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — to demean a sitting senator.

In a party-line vote, 49 to 43, senators upheld Mr. Daines’s decision, forcing Ms. Warren into silence, at least on the Senate floor, until the showdown over Mr. Sessions’s nomination is complete. He is expected to be confirmed on Wednesday.

Immediately, Democrats took up Ms. Warren’s cause, urging on social media for Republicans to “#LetLizSpeak.” Ms. Warren said on Twitter that Mr. McConnell had “silenced Mrs. King’s voice” on the Senate floor, to say nothing of “millions who are afraid & appalled by what’s happening in our country.” Within hours of being shut down on the Senate floor, Ms. Warren read the letter from Mrs. King on Facebook, attracting more than two million views — an audience she would have been unlikely to match on C-Span, if she had been permitted to continue speaking in the chamber.

Democrats argued that Mr. McConnell was enforcing the rule selectively, citing examples of Republicans appearing to test the boundaries of Rule XIX. In one instance from 2015, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas accused Mr. McConnell of lying “over and over and over again.” In another, last year, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas described the “cancerous leadership” of Senator Harry Reid, the former Democratic leader.

Republicans accused Ms. Warren of violating the rule repeatedly, saying she had been warned before Mr. McConnell’s objection. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, suggested that Ms. Warren had been rebuked over “a quotation from Senator Ted Kennedy that called the nominee a disgrace to the Justice Department.”

“Our colleagues want to try to make this all about Coretta Scott King, and it is not,” he said.

But when Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, sought clarification, he was informed that while a warning was issued over the letter from Mr. Kennedy, the ruling itself hinged on Mrs. King’s letter. That judgment came from Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, who had taken over as the presiding officer.

The rule in question is part of the Standing Rules of the Senate and Rule 19 in general sets certain rules regarding debate in the Senate and how Senators must conduct themselves as well as the rules that govern when debate on a given matter shall begin and end during the course of an ordinary legislative day. Other provisions of Rule 19 include a rule that no Senator shall refer “offensively” to any state in the Union, which I suppose means that Senators from Ohio and Michigan are forbidden from making reference to any of the many jokes that are traded back and forth leading up to the annual Ohio State-Michigan football game. The relevant part of the rule reads as follows:

No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

As with many of the Senate’s standing rules, there is no commentary or other guide to lead to an understanding of what the intention behind the rule is, or what it means to “impute…….any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.” According to some reports, the rule developed after the infamous incident in 1856 when Senator Charles Sumner was hit repeatedly with a cane by Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina, an attack that left Sumner suffering from injuries that plagued him for the rest of his life but also made him a hero of the abolitionist movement. Brooks had apparently been motivated by a speech Sumner made on the Senate floor in which he spoke in disparaging terms about several Democratic Senators from the South during a debate over the admission of Kansas and Nebraska as states, a debate that turned on the question of the expansion of slavery into the territories. Whatever the motivation, though, there does not appear to be much of a record of the rule being enforced over the past 166 years, at least not one that would provide a guide for determining whether Warren’s comment really did cross the line that the rule attempts to draw. Additionally, as Amber Phillips points out in The Washington Post, there are many examples of Senators saying things about other Senators during floor speeches that arguably fall within the provisions of what the rule was meant to prohibit. Additionally, the immediate response to what happened on the floor lends credence to the idea that the rule is, at best, selectively enforced. Soon after she was silenced, Warren was posting a Facebook Live video of her reading the letter from a corridor just outside the doors that lead to the Senate floor, and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and several other Democratic Senators read the full text of Mrs. King’s letter into the record, an action for which none of them were rebuked in the manner that Warren was.

CNN’s Eric Bradner suggests in his report on the incident that the GOP’s plan to silence Warren ended up backfiring on them:

“They can shut me up, but they can’t change the truth,” Warren later told CNN’s Don Lemon.

The moment immediately galvanized the Democratic base. Weeks after the women’s marches around the country turned out droves of anti-Trump protesters, Warren — silenced by male senators for attempting to read a letter from a civil rights icon — had given those women a new rallying point.

Adding fuel to the backlash, supporters noted the apparent hypocrisy that Warren’s male colleagues were able to read from the letter uninterrupted. Sen. Mark Udall read the letter to enter it into the congressional record Wednesday morning and Sen. Jeff Merkley was allowed to read from King’s letter Tuesday night, though he couched his remarks as only reading portions of the letter and with the context to be in line with Senate rules.

Warren is now forbidden from participating in the floor debate over Sessions’ nomination ahead of a confirmation vote expected Wednesday.

“I literally can’t be recognized on the floor of the Senate,” she told Lemon. “I have become a nonperson during the discussion of Jeff Sessions.”

(…)

By Tuesday night, the hashtag #LetLizSpeak was trending on Twitter. Millions of people had also watched on Facebook as Warren read the letter outside the Senate chamber.

MoveOn members contributed $250,000 to Warren’s re-election campaign in about 12 hours.

Warren used Twitter to attack Sessions and McConnell.

“I will not be silent about a nominee for AG who has made derogatory & racist comments that have no place in our justice system,” she wrote.

In a follow-up tweet, she said: “I will not be silent while the Republicans rubber stamp an AG who will never stand up to the @POTUS when he breaks the law.”

And then: “Tonight @SenateMajLdr silenced Mrs King’s voice on the Sen floor – & millions who are afraid & appalled by what’s happening in our country.”

From a political point of view, I’m not so sure that the conclusion that this will backfire on the GOP is really all that accurate. To the Republican base, there are few Democrats of national stature that are disliked as Elizabeth Warren, so McConnell taking this action against her is likely to rally them as much as it is likely to rally the Democrats around Warren, and that will only inure to McConnell’s benefit. Additionally, Republicans seem to believe that Warren doesn’t play very well outside the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and that they can win a victory by making her the most prominent critic of the Republicans on Capitol Hill and the Trump Administration. Whether or not this is true, of course, is part of the gamble that Republicans would be taking here, but as the standoff over a replacement for Justice Scalia showed, Senator McConnell is not above using the Senate rules to gamble a bit so the fact that they chose to target her over something that will enhance her stature among Democrats but which most Americans aren’t going to care about one way or the other then it’s worth whatever short-term price they might pay. Whether or not that turns out to be true is something only time will tell.

In any case, here’s the video of what happened on the Senate floor last night:

And here’s the text of Mrs. King’s 1986 letter:

Coretta Scott King 1986 Letter and Testimony Signed by Doug Mataconis on Scribd

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. David M says:

    No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

    I don’t necessarily disagree with the rule in general. However, when the Senator is being confirmed for another office, it’s absolutely ridiculous for it to apply then.

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  2. KM says:

    most Americans aren’t going to care about one way or the other then it’s worth whatever short-term price they might pay

    Most Americans won’t care but the GOP will when their time inevitably comes. I look forward to Rule XIX being used against the GOP in the future Democrat President’s nominations. If nothing else, Warren will take pleasure in citing it with herself as precedent.

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  3. Franklin says:

    I think it did backfire. Would anybody outside of the Senate walls have paid any attention to King’s letter without McConnell’s flapping jowls stirring up the scent of it?

    It’s clear that Trump’s authoritarianism is spilling over into the whole Republican mindset.

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  4. Pete S says:

    Adding fuel to the backlash, supporters noted the apparent hypocrisy that Warren’s male colleagues were able to read from the letter uninterrupted. Sen. Mark Udall read the letter to enter it into the congressional record Wednesday morning

    I continue to believe that nobody thinks as poorly of Republican supporters, as Republican politicians do. Censuring a woman then allowing a series of men to say exactly the same thing, probably DOES play well with a large portion of the Republican base. You would think the Senate Majority Leader would not try to emphasize the point though.

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  5. al-Alameda says:

    I must admit, I was paying no attention whatsoever to the extended comments by Democrats on the Session’s nomination, until I heard that Republicans were silencing Warren.

    All the Republican action did was remind everyone that, right now and into the foreseeable future, Republicans can do as they please because they have he votes.

    Republicans are running the table now.

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  6. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Sorry Doug…when the opposition is not allowed to comment on an appointee for fear of censure…that’s a sad day for our Republic.

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  7. Tony W says:

    The Streisand Effect is strong in this case. I was formerly unaware of this particular letter.

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  8. gVOR08 says:

    I believe at least the story, and often a link to the full letter and attached statement, made the front page of every major paper this morning, and OTB. Thank you, Doug. Way to go, Mitch!

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  9. Pch101 says:

    McConnell threw a bone to the Trumpistas. What this really tells you is that the GOP will be moving further right and become more partisan as it attempts to appease the far right. The GOP really does negotiate with terrorists, after all.

    On the other hand, Elizabeth Warren responded appropriately by taking her show directly to social media, so she also owes McConnell a thank you.

    This is the future of government. The minority party will appeal directly to its base via social media and other channel. Parliamentary procedure will not be an effective tool for silencing the minority now that the public can be reached directly.

    These days, you don’t need to hold formal hearings or interrogate in order to make your point. As we can see, being denied the opportunity to debate provides an opportunity to post about the refusal on Facebook.

    I’m not particularly a fan of Warren, but keep up the good work, Liz.

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  10. Ben Wolf says:

    Guys like McConnell have, since they oozed out of the primoridal slime circa 227 million B.C., been telling women to shut up. At least he’s consistent.

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  11. Hal_10000 says:

    Because of the GOP’s choice here, thousands, perhaps million of people read King’s letter who otherwise would not have. So … thanks guys! Well played! Can you try to censure people for bringing up Sessions’ awful awful record on police accountability, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration and marijuana legalization? Because ya’ll are about to appoint someone who would turn the clock back on all of that and destroy a lot of the good work many *Republicans* have been doing to end our demented moral panic over crime.

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  12. Neil Hudelson says:

    So millions of individuals who otherwise would not have paid attention to Sessions’ confirmation have now read or heard Warren’s speech, the previously chagrined democratic base is fired up and growing, and Warren raised a quarter of a million towards her re-election in just a few hours.

    Guys, I cannot even begin to explain how poorly thought out this tactic is. We need to do something else entirely. And that something should be…not this. We need strategy.

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  13. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug

    What Warren does in the Senate consistently goes hyper-viral. It was for that reason alone McConnell shut her down.

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  14. Pch101 says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    It may help to use the special OTB James Pearce Sarcasm Font, just in case anyone missed the point…

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  15. Terrye Cravens says:

    I am not a liberal Democrat, but I must admit I respect Warren for taking this stand. And McConnell is looking like an ass right now.

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  16. Jake says:

    You see what I’m surprised by, just a smidgen, is that the liberal laft that speaks and desires for all of us to be tolerant, do not want to be tolerant of anyone that disagrees with where they are coming from. So the definition of tolerance isn’t that all Americans experience a fall level of tolerance, it’s that all Americans that agree with them experiences this so-called tolerance.

    http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/02/08/tim-scott-reads-bigoted-insults-tweeted-to-him-for-supporting-sessions-nomination/

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  17. Jake says:
  18. Gustopher says:

    No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

    If a Senator does it, can it really be conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming of a Senator?

    It’s a lesser version of “If the President does it, it isn’t a crime.”

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  19. Jake says:

    Ouch

    http://bit.ly/2koaUyu

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  20. Pch101 says:

    No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

    That doesn’t mention anything about discussing conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming of an attorney general.

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  21. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    You see what I’m surprised by, just a smidgen, is that the liberal laft that speaks and desires for all of us to be tolerant, do not want to be tolerant of anyone that disagrees with where they are coming from. So the definition of tolerance isn’t that all Americans experience a fall level of tolerance, it’s that all Americans that agree with them experiences this so-called tolerance.

    Excellent. That was a high level of incoherency, even by current Republican talking point standards.

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  22. James Pearce says:

    Warren’s male colleagues were able to read from the letter uninterrupted. Sen. Mark Udall read the letter to enter it into the congressional record Wednesday morning

    It wasn’t Mark; he was replaced by Cory Gardner. Tom Udall maybe, from NM?

    At any rate, glad you guys were impressed with the letter. I can’t wait to see what the fired up Democratic base, and our new AG Jeff Sessions, will come up with.

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  23. dxq says:

    Excellent. That was a high level of incoherency, even by current Republican talking point standards.

    well, the kinda person who thinks Gateway Pundit is an important information source….

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  24. Barry says:

    @Pete S: “I continue to believe that nobody thinks as poorly of Republican supporters, as Republican politicians do. ”

    I second that, and add that they are correct in their estimate.

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  25. Jake says:

    @dxq:

    And your source thought Hillary was going to win easily.

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  26. Jake says:

    All you have here is an echo chamber. The blind leading the blind. Go Sessions

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  27. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Jake:

    Don’t you mean “HH?”

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  28. michael reynolds says:

    @James Pearce:

    Right, so in a war of base vs. base, you think an event that gave our base a bunch of money and a bunch of emotional energy, and, as see up-thread appealed to people not normally inclined to love Warren, was a bad thing. I like you, I always read you, but you don’t have a clue on strategy as you prove by steadfastly refusing to propose one.

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  29. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    This is simply who the Republicans have become–a bunch of useless ignorant crackers who will attempt to win by silencing their opponents whenever the arguments of those opponents hold more weight than their own do. More importantly, 1) whatever Warren said is going to be immaterial to the outcome of the debate–the GOP caucus has adequate votes to approve whoever Trump wants; shirt, they have the votes to approve an empty suit to be the next AG, 2) the optics of the event, with others allowed to read into the record what she was censured for, suck and make them look like a bunch of useless ignorant crackers trying to “put some uppity woman back in her place,” 3) they’re doing all of this to please guys like Jake–the indisputable king of Nabisco.

    But as to backfiring, that all depends on what the citizens in the opposition decide to do. Jake and the rest of the base are fine with everything that is going on and they elected this mess.

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  30. Laura Koerber says:

    I don;t think it is politics as usual.

    Whether their action plays will with their base is another issue altogether. Regardless of who that shakes out it is not and should not be, politics as usual to use an obscure rule to silence a Senator during a discussion of the fitness of an appointee to the Cabinet. Character IS an issue.

    I don’t think that he thirty year old letter is a smoking gun that proves unfitness, BTW.

    But censorship is a big deal. I don’t have any respect anymore for any Republican in Congress.

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  31. mike shupp says:

    Someday, somewhere, someone — a thousand years from now, ten thousand years — is going to write a big fat authoritative book on “The Demise of the American Nation”, giving full and just attention to the intentional destruction of the system of republican government envisioned by the Founders. And Mitch McConnell is going to get a chapter or two all to himself, and he is not going to be that volume’s hero.

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  32. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Right, so in a war of base vs. base, you think an event that gave our base a bunch of money and a bunch of emotional energy, and, as see up-thread appealed to people not normally inclined to love Warren, was a bad thing.

    To be clear, I do not think it was “a bad thing.” But this is why I don’t consider it necessarily a good thing, either: I just watched a fight to prevent Jeff Sessions from being confirmed morph into a fight about Elizabeth Warren reading a letter to the Senate, and while everyone was tweeting #letlizspeak, “law and order” Jeff Sessions was confirmed.

    I can’t help but be disheartened by that. As for strategy, I’m going to buy clones now before the market goes dry.

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  33. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Jake: I thought she would win too. I underestimated the number of morons and partisans in this country.

    Truthfully, I think that Warren had a right to read the letter because Sessions is up for Attorney General. And because there was a time when his actions actually cost him Republican support for a judgeship. Things like common decency mattered to them then. And I also think there should be some discussion of Session’s support of civil forfeiture, even when the person in question has not been convicted of a crime. So, his support for voter suppression and his lack of support for due process actually go to the heart of the matter here.

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  34. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    while everyone was tweeting #letlizspeak, “law and order” Jeff Sessions was confirmed.

    And your grand strategy for preventing that outcome would have been what exactly?

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  35. Tyrell says:

    This whole tawdry incident is another part and parcel example textbook case of why Congress is broken, inept, and hypocritical. Just more showboating, soapboxing, playing to tv cameras, and political hucksterism. Warren set a trap for McConnell, and he took it. I guess they were trying to compete with the soap opera tv hour.
    This is why public support for Congress is so low. Instead of these kind of high camp dramas and adolescent type theatricals, they should be working on some sort of relief and help for the middle class working people.
    I would just as soon watch Springer: better acting.

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  36. KM says:

    @James Pearce:

    Sessions was going to get confirmed anyways. If they weren’t going to jump ship on DeVos, they weren’t going to on Sessions. You seem to be under the impression that we can somehow control the Republicans to stop them for voting however the hell they want. The only way that can happen is public pressure on the Congresspeople in question….. maybe. See, they don’t have to listen to the public. They just got elected! They’ve got at least a year before they really start worrying about optics. They’re ducking out of meetings, hiding from protests, ignoring calls. The DGAF is strong in DC right now because they’re all riding high on WE WON!!!11!!

    But the public will care in the long run. We can’t stop Sessions from being sworn in but we can point out all the dirty tricks they used to make it happen. #letlizspeak reminds everyone that yet again, Repubs suck when it comes to people not like them. Keep the outrage alive with every new outrage they create and eventually it burns into the dimmest of brains: these people are bad. Do not vote for them again. Sessions will only pile it on with his crap in office to make it worse.

    We can’t stop them, James. What we can do is make them so goddamn unattractive no voter wants to be near their lever in the voting booth.

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  37. Pete S says:

    @KM:

    We can also make sure that at least some Republican voters become aware that a little used Senate rule adopted to protect pro-slavery Senators from personal criticism in the pre-Civil War era was used to protect Jeff Sessions from having to hear criticisms from the widow of a Civil Rights leader now. Jeff Sessions, who was rejected by the Senate in 1986 when nominated as a Federal Judge, but is just fine as AG under today’s Republican Party. If I were a Republican voter I would be insulted that the party seems to think this is okay with me….

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  38. JohnMcC says:

    “Warren set a trap for McConnell and he took it.” Tyrell wins!

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  39. john430 says:

    McConnell should have let Fauxcahontas read the letter from the Cherokee nations rejecting her claim of Native American heritage. Where was the phony outrage then?

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  40. al-Alameda says:

    @john430:

    McConnell should have let Fauxcahontas read the letter from the Cherokee nations rejecting her claim of Native American heritage. Where was the phony outrage then?

    “Fauxcahontas”? Have Republicans trademarked and/or copywrited that one, along with “Shrillary” and “Killery” ?

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  41. Jack says:

    @al-Alameda: “Fauxcahontas”? Have Republicans trademarked and/or copywrited that one, along with “Shrillary” and “Killery” ?

    Would you prefer Princess Moonbat Feathers? How about Spreading Bull? My favorite is Lieawatha.

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  42. Pch101 says:

    @al-Alameda:

    The john430 bot is programmed with all of the latest cliches.

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  43. al-Alameda says:

    @Jack:

    Would you prefer Princess Moonbat Feathers? How about Spreading Bull? My favorite is Lieawatha.

    What did Warren lie about?
    My favorite is “Princess CausesRepublicanDerangement”

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  44. Jack says:

    @al-Alameda:

    What did Warren lie about?

    Her heritage.

    How about “Dances with Snowflakes”, that’s catchy.

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  45. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jack:

    Her heritage.

    Please provide proof positive she lied about her heritage…or finally STFU you flaming fwcking idiot.

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  46. Jack says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: Um, that’s not how proof works, asshat. She has stated she is Native American Indian. She is not. The Cherokee tribe has said she is not. She has no proof that she is, therefore she is a liar.

    You flaming fwcking idiot.

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  47. Jack says:

    @Jack:

    You flaming fwcking idiot.

    I’m sorry, that was an insult to idiots.

    You, are a flaming fwcking twat-waffle.

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  48. al-Alameda says:

    @Jack:

    How about “Dances with Snowflakes”, that’s catchy.

    How about “Ancestry Completely Misrepresented by Conservatives”?
    Boring, but largely true.

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  49. Jack says:

    @al-Alameda: Elizabeth Warren herself claimed to be Native American, the Conservatives did not make that up…she did.

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  50. Jack says:

    @al-Alameda: By the way, I believe Chief Running Mouth of the Idiot Tribe fits best.

    What do you think?

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  51. JKB says:

    McConnell raises profile of Warren among radical Democrats, Schumer hardest hit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. al-Alameda says:

    @Jack:

    By the way, I believe Chief Running Mouth of the Idiot Tribe fits best.
    What do you think?

    I’m not kidding, it describes Trump perfectly.

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  53. al-Alameda says:

    @Jack:

    Elizabeth Warren herself claimed to be Native American, the Conservatives did not make that up…she did.

    I believe she claimed partial – not full – heritage and ancestry, something many Americans do, especially people from the American Southwest and central plains states. I’ve heard many people claim 1/8th or 1/16th heritage. Sometimes these stories are family lore, not always substantiated. I’m surprised that Jason Chaffetz or Darrell Issa didn’t have Warren’s claims investigated.

    But hey, conservatives have been partying over that one for a few years now.

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  54. al-Alameda says:

    @JKB:

    McConnell raises profile of Warren among radical Democrats, Schumer hardest hit.

    And, who are these radical Democrats?
    Maxine Waters?
    Wow, what an impact, the DJIA plummeted 2,000 points on the news that Warren read Scott-King’s letter into the record, and Nordstrom discontinued selling Warren’s line of Cherokee Kale Tupperware Accessories.

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  55. wr says:

    @Jack: Oh, look, Jack is afraid of Elizabeth Warren. What a shock – gurls are scary!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Jack says:

    @wr: Arguing with you is like playing basketball with a retarded kid and calling him for double dribbling.

    You compulsively vomit your stupidity all over the internet while but what that you really need to do is practice the phrase…”Would you like fries with that?”. Quite frankly, that is all I see in your future. Between your functional illiteracy, your mom’s basement, and the fact you whine like a little b1tch, I’m fairly certain that gainful employment are clearly out of reach.

    Alas, I will simply Mitch-slap you like McConnell did to Warren.

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  57. KM says:

    @al-Alameda:

    I believe she claimed partial – not full – heritage and ancestry, something many Americans do, especially people from the American Southwest and central plains states. I’ve heard many people claim 1/8th or 1/16th heritage. Sometimes these stories are family lore, not always substantiated.

    Companies like Ancestry.com and other geneology /DNA checks make money off people who want to prove they are X and end up shocked they are Y. Hell, there was a commercial about where the guy thought he was Itailan based on his last name and family lore (Vecheccio??) and he ended up being like Eastern European or something. That she was incorrect in her facts can be proven; that she deliberately lied is a partisan assumption. I’m willing to bet Jack and anyone else on here will in for some surprises if we start checking your family tree; the truth you think you know isn’t always the one history recorded.

    If nothing else, think on this: mom’s baby, papa’s maybe for a huge part of our history. How sure are you that heritage is what you think it is? Are you a liar for believing what your family told you or what you could glean? This is one of those that most people shouldn’t touch since they are likely in the same boat but don’t know it.

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  58. bill says:

    what’s really going on with liz anyways, she’s more off the rails than her usual wacky self?! her memory must be shot as she can’t seem to remember mrs. king thanking jeff sessions for his help with the rosa parks library/museum. or maybe her constituency don’t have any long term memory anymore?! either way, it’s embarrassing to see an alleged leader acting like this for whatever reason.
    but then again, she trashed hillary during the primaries and had to eat crow during the campaign, but that’s all seemingly forgotten.
    maybe she just needs a good shushing?!

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  59. al-Alameda says:

    @KM:

    How sure are you that heritage is what you think it is? Are you a liar for believing what your family told you or what you could glean? This is one of those that most people shouldn’t touch since they are likely in the same boat but don’t know it.

    No kidding.
    I sent a DNA sample to “23 And Me” a Silicon Valley firm, to see what the results would be. I was somewhat surprised. I figured, based on family discussions over the years, that my heritage would be petty much UK on my mother’s side, and my father’s side would be Austro-Hungarian with some old Yugoslav Peninsula, Croatian etc. The results showed 75% of what I expected, however there was a 25% Italian portion, possibly explained by the close proximity of the Styria region of Austria to the Italian border, the Italian alps. To me and my family that Italian component was very unexpected.

    Really, you do not know what will be unearthed once you get past your limited knowledge of great grandparents. Europe 200-300 years ago was a place of limited and modest migrations, sometimes amped up by the dislocations of war and border changes.

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  60. An Interested Party says:

    her memory must be shot as she can’t seem to remember mrs. king thanking jeff sessions for his help with the rosa parks library/museum.

    Nice try, but when you have to base your argument on fake shit, it really dampens your credibility…perhaps you should check your own memory, or at least the “evidence” you want to cite…

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  61. Franklin says:

    Marco Rubio, of all people, actually gave a nice little speech after the incident. I know what your reflexive thoughts will be (he’s ambitious, blah blah blah). But I think he offered some good reasons why the rule is in place, even if he didn’t clearly say whether it was applied correctly.

    Link

    At the very least, it confirms he would have been a better nominee than Trump. Low bar.

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  62. Pch101 says:

    @Franklin:

    I’m sorry, but Rubio is a hypocrite.

    If Senate Republicans are going to refuse to scrutinize their own for a cabinet post, then we have a problem.

    Let’s get real: It is Rubio’s side that tried to kill debate, and it is his opponents who wanted one.

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  63. James Pearce says:

    And your grand strategy for preventing that outcome would have been what exactly?

    More cowbell.

    Preface every mention of his name with “Racist,” as in “Racist Jeff Sessions.” I wouldn’t just read the letter from Coretta Scott King, I’d have Beyonce and Sofia Vergara write letters and we’ll read them too. We’ll station Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi with the protesters on the Capitol steps so they can wave their NY Times subscriptions. We’ll have SNL do a skit and John Oliver do a monologue, and if they’re funny enough, Donald Trump will spontaneously combust from the anger.

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  64. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    And that would have changed the vote how exactly?

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  65. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    And that would have changed the vote how exactly?

    Oh, that’s simple. It wouldn’t have changed the vote at all.

    The only thing that would have changed the vote was peeling off some Republican support, which is hard to do when you’re playing partisan games.

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  66. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    OK, one more time: What is your grand strategy for changing the vote?

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  67. Jake says:

    The day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was rebuked while making a speech critical of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Democrats, saying their party is the one rooted in racism.

    “The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan,” Cruz (R-Tex.) said in an interview on Fox News on Wednesday. “You look at the most racist — you look at the Dixiecrats, they were Democrats who imposed segregation, imposed Jim Crow laws, who founded the Klan. The Klan was founded by a great many Democrats.”

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/02/ted_cruz_is_right_about_the_democrats_and_racism.html

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  68. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    The Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan,” Cruz (R-Tex.) said in an interview on Fox News on Wednesday. “You look at the most racist — you look at the Dixiecrats, they were Democrats who imposed segregation, imposed Jim Crow laws, who founded the Klan. The Klan was founded by a great many Democrats.”

    L O ‘effing L! Republicans always ignore the last 50 years of race and politics in America. Why is that? Ted Cruz is willfully avoiding the history of these issues since 1965.

    The Civil & Voting Rights Acts were passed largely on a regional basis, that is, Democratic and Republican politicians in the North voted for the Acts, while Southern legislators (then primarily Democrats) voted against it. After Democratic President Lyndon Johnson got the bill passed Southern Democrats started to migrate to the Republican Party, where they are today. From 1972 on, the Republican Party employed a well-known and documented “Southern Strategy” which played very successfully with disaffected and resentful White Southern voters, the result being that the South, once solidly Democratic, is now almost entirely solidly Republican.

    Currently Blacks vote Democratic by over 80%, in fact, Trump got 8% of the Black vote in November. Are you saying that Blacks vote for Democratic candidates because they just do not know what they’re doing?

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  69. Jake says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Wrong

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  70. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    OK, one more time: What is your grand strategy for changing the vote?

    One more time: Find common cause with reluctant Republicans who will not buy into every aspect of your agenda, but can nonetheless be allies in stopping some of Trump’s more egregious outrages.

    Jeff Sessions has been the Senator of one of the blackest states in the union for 20 years, winning re-election at every opportunity. It would have been very satisfying if it was his alleged racism that brought him down.

    But I’d settle for another AG pick myself….

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  71. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Find common cause with reluctant Republicans who will not buy into every aspect of your agenda

    Name them.

    Look, I know that you are full of terrific workable ideas. For example, I’m sure that you would have prevented WWII by convincing the Nazis to like the Jews and that Lebensraum was not a thing. It’s simply amazing that no one tried.

    Obviously, the Democrats in the Senate never considered the possibility of cutting deals with Republicans when possible. Clearly, you’re the only person who ever thought of such a thing.

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  72. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Name them.

    Rand Paul could have been persuaded to vote against him for civil liberties reasons. Here’s a quote from Paul on the subject:

    “In some ways, the Democrats made it much more certain that I would vote for him, by trying to destroy his character. I think to me it’s very upsetting that they didn’t choose to go after him on particular issues like civil asset forfeiture, where they might have been able to persuade someone like me,” Paul said Thursday.

    We might have been able to persuade Murokowski or Collins too, and if we were actually smart, goal-oriented people, we could have gone after a couple of others.

    You think Cory Gardener wants to spend the rest of his term defending Jeff Sessions’ war on legal marijuana to angry Coloradoans? I certainly don’t….

    So please, for the sake of your country, can the adults be put in charge again?

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  73. Franklin says:

    @Pch101:

    I’m sorry, but Rubio is a hypocrite.

    He actually acknowledges that in the speech.

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  74. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Rand Paul the faux-Libertarian is trying to cover his backside from criticism after the fact from libertarians. He’s deflecting blame.

    If Paul wanted to take a stand along those lines, then he could have. He didn’t need the Dems to stand up for his supposed views on civil liberties; he could have denounced them AND voted against Sessions.

    At this point, the GOP is most concerned with alienating the base. They aren’t going to stick their necks out over this, particularly when the alternatives would not be any different. That includes Paul.

    Sessions was going to win, regardless. Since his confirmation was inevitable, Warren turned it into an issue that could unite Democrats.

    Your alternative would have lost the vote and the momentum, so it’s actually a losing idea because it would have produced a defeat and a whimper instead of a defeat coupled with positive media coverage.

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  75. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    I am confused. You keep arguing against protests, yet your only suggestion so far seems to be what simply amount to protests. Is it just that you hate SJWs and don’t want to see them anywhere?

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  76. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    Rand Paul the faux-Libertarian is trying to cover his backside from criticism after the fact from libertarians.

    Yes, he is. What do you think it means when he “covers his backside” to his libertarian constituents and shows his backside to his liberal ones?

    Liberals, where is thy sting?

    he could have denounced them AND voted against Sessions.

    Provided enough cover, he might have.

    At this point, the GOP is most concerned with alienating the base.

    Trump, who knows his base better than you do, is not concerned at all with alienating the base. His strategy is to throw em some red meat, then tell them to shut up and eat, like a master would to his dog.

    Trump knows the thing about a base is that you can abuse them, ignore them, bully them, embarrass them, serve them poorly, but they will still support you. As long as you make the right noises, like Warren did the other day, you will never need to worry about accomplishments. In today’s day and age, making the right noises is the accomplishment.

    Sessions was going to win, regardless. Since his confirmation was inevitable, Warren turned it into an issue that could unite Democrats.

    No, he wasn’t. Pence had to step in and break the tie-breaker on Devos. Sessions was confirmed by 52 votes. 2 fewer votes, they’d need Pence. 3 fewer votes and they’d need a new AG nominee.

    And here we are, two un-united Democrats, arguing about it….

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  77. Pch101 says:

    @Grewgills:

    Pearce’s MO is that he wants to be the adult in the room.

    However, his idea of adulthood is limited to lecturing the kids even though he doesn’t have much to teach them and he would actually benefit from taking a few lessons from them.

    He’s not entirely wrong, for he is correct to note that the Dems often play the game badly. But he also lacks a grasp of game theory, so his ideas are ultimately naive.

    He thinks that the goal of politics is to change the minds of opponents. He doesn’t understand that those tactics are doomed to fail when when your opponents do not want to negotiate and perceive those efforts to negotiate as signs of weakness.

    The modern version of the GOP does not negotiate in good faith. Anyone who ignores this is going to get spanked.

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  78. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    Wrong

    Feel free to point out where I am wrong Jake.

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  79. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    Rand Paul will play a bit of quick CYA with libertarian bloggers.

    But at the end of the day, most of the people who actually hired him — the voters of Kentucky — aren’t libertarian bloggers. So the bloggers get some lip service, but that’s about it.

    Choosing a nominee is not like cutting a deal over legislation because (a) it is possible to kill legislation in the Senate and (b) it is possible to alter the legislation. In contrast, (a) the AG position will be filled by someone, and soon and (b) you can’t negotiate what percentage of the nominee that you get — it’s all or nothing.

    Since there is no unified effort within the majority party to fight Trump, fighting Sessions creates risk without reward.

    Nobody in the GOP wants to be Eric Cantored. Paul was never going to fight for this. Don’t be so naive that you think that he’s going to be candid about it — he would rather blame the opposition party than blame the Tea Party for reining him in (assuming that he gave a s**t about Sessions in the first place.)

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  80. James Pearce says:

    @Grewgills:

    Is it just that you hate SJWs and don’t want to see them anywhere?

    Well, it would be nice if they engaged in some much-needed self-reflection, asking themselves whether they’re actually helping the cause of social justice.

    If the answer is the same now as it was two months ago, you need to start the self-reflection process over.

    @Pch101: I just can’t with you sometimes, dude. You prefer to resist Trump with rootless protest and emoting, and I prefer to resist him with parliamentary maneuvers and legal proceedings.

    How about this? You go unite the Democrats.

    I’ll go stop Trump.

    Also:

    Nobody in the GOP wants to be Eric Cantored.

    Well, just saying….the GOP’s fortunes improved once Eric Cantor got Eric Cantored and John Boehner got Boehner’d. The Republicans have control of all 3 branches of the federal government, and 2/3rds of the state governments.

    And we have Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

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  81. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: um, she did thank him along with the rest of the attendees, she didn’t name them all but they were there and so was he.

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  82. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    You prefer to resist Trump with rootless protest and emoting, and I prefer to resist him with parliamentary maneuvers and legal proceedings.

    You don’t have any parliamentary maneuvers, you only have theories about maneuvers that won’t actually work.

    You aren’t going to get Republicans to vote against their own just because you think that it’s a nifty idea. Your sizzle is lacking meat.

    The legal proceedings are being funded by the rabble who you dismiss. One of the benefits of building up the protest movement is that it facilitates fundraising.

    The stuff that you claim doesn’t work is already happening and is already working. It has worked in the past and it can work again. Get over yourself.

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  83. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    You aren’t going to get Republicans to vote against their own just because you think that it’s a nifty idea.

    Can’t even accurately describe the argument, much less confront it. Seriously, man…if I want to know what Rand Paul is thinking, I’m gonna ask him, not you.

    But thanks, Kreskin, for your, uh, “insight.”

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  84. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    I understood your argument. That’s why I am aware that it sucks.

    You want lawsuits, yet you can’t figure out that the ACLU’s ability to pay for its lawsuits has improved thanks to the awareness and momentum created by the protests.

    You want to change votes, yet you can’t figure out that the votes that you want can’t be changed because those Republicans have their own reasons to not change them.

    And I’m sorry, but taking Rand Paul at face value is just foolish.

    If you remain unable to connect dots or to link effects with their causes, then you’re going to continue to offer bad ideas.

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  85. An Interested Party says:

    um, she did thank him along with the rest of the attendees, she didn’t name them all but they were there and so was he.

    Umm, I don’t know if your reading skills are lacking, or if your ability to follow a link is lacking, or perhaps both, so let me help you out…the only time she mentioned Sessions in her speech was in this passage…

    To President Martindale, to Sen. Sessions, Mayor Bright, Troy State Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr., Dr. Dorothy Height, Ms. Johnnie Carr, Juanita Abernathy, Mammie Till-Mobley, to all of the distinguished program participants and guests in this audience today, it’s a great honor and a privilege for me to join you in celebrating the grand opening of the Rosa Parks Library and Museum. History teaches us that all great freedom movements begin with an inspiring act of courage, and in this regard the American civil rights movement provides a supreme example. The library and museum we dedicate today is a living testament to the courage, commitment and character of the great woman whose act of courage sparked our freedom struggle, the woman we call Mrs. Rosa Louise Parks. In her extraordinary courage and humility, Mrs. Rosa Parks provided our movement with a matchless example of the very spirit of non-violence.

    Do you see a “thank you” in there? Hmm…me neither…as the analysis at the link states…

    We checked with Jeff Shesol, a former speechwriter for President Bill Clinton who is now a founding partner of West Wing Writers, which does speechwriting for a variety of clients.

    “This is the verbal equivalent of a wave or a handshake,” Shesol said. “In speechwriting, we call this the ‘acknowledgments’ section — a list of people that you simply have to mention, in passing, given their office or stature. The sort of people who you can’t risk slighting by appearing to ignore them.”

    Shesol said there is a separate category of salute that qualifies as a genuine thank you.

    “When someone needs to be singled out and thanked for their role in something, or for their contribution or leadership, that requires the speaker to pause and say something grateful and meaningful,” he said.

    And King did just that later in her speech, in a portion not shown in the YouTube clip that True Pundit appended to its post. In her remarks, King specifically thanked the Montgomery Improvement Association and Troy State University for their efforts on helping establish the library and museum.

    “What you have here is a willful misinterpretation of a very basic gesture,” Shesol said of the way True Pundit framed its post.

    Happy to be of help…

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  86. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: well, politiwhatev has never been anything what normal people would call “news”…..let alone “unbiased”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xQznIj8g6U

    so do us all the great favor of telling us that she did not “thank'”him in any way shape or form.

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  87. An Interested Party says:

    so do us all the great favor of telling us that she did not “thank’”him in any way shape or form.

    No problem, as she certainly didn’t…the video is quite revealing, as it appears as though she really had to push his name out of her mouth, and certainly she didn’t thank him for anything, but you keep believing those alternative facts…hell, that’s all you and your ilk seem to have these days…

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  88. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101: I encourage you to protest every weekend, give all of your money to the ACLU, and to believe what you want.

    Just make sure you wave to the lawyers as they go into the courtroom and you stand there on the sidewalk with your sign.

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  89. Pch101 says:

    @James Pearce:

    How many ACLU lawyers have been funded by your whining?

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  90. James Pearce says:

    @Pch101:

    How many ACLU lawyers have been funded by your whining?

    All of them.

    Wait, wait. I’m worried that what you just heard was “I funded a lot of ACLU lawyers,” but what I said was “I funded all of the ACLU lawyers.” Do you understand?

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  91. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: yeah, right- read whatever you need to into that but the reality is that she did thank all involved. and jeff sessions will lead by example, not by the lameness of his predecessor.
    back to the thread- liz warren still sucks and seems like she always will. stealing identity benefits is a horrible thing, maybe not for liberals but for the rest of us who live in the real world, it is

    oh, thanks for the “politifact” link……that explains “things”.

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  92. An Interested Party says:

    yeah, right- read whatever you need to into that…

    Actually, you are the one reading whatever you need into that as the video clearly shows her not doing what you are claiming she did…

    liz warren still sucks and seems like she always will. stealing identity benefits is a horrible thing…

    She never “stole identity benefits” and her claim of Native American ancestry is more credible than your claim of having an alleged black girlfriend…

    oh, thanks for the “politifact” link……that explains “things”.

    You’re most welcome…how sad, though, that you don’t want to believe the truth and would rather rely on alternative facts…

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