Is Senator Coburn ‘wishing misfortune’ on other lawmakers?

By Stephen C. Webster
Sunday, December 20, 2009 23:01 EDT
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Coburn urges Americans to ‘pray’ that ‘somebody can’t make the vote tonight’

Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is hoping, even praying, that one of his Democratic colleagues somehow cannot manage to cast a vote on health care in the wee hours of Monday morning.

As the chamber nears the first of several procedural ballots to end debate on the bill ahead of final passage, Coburn said, “What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.”

His suggestion, seemingly a veiled remark aimed at ailing 92-year-old Senator Robert Byrd (D-VA), struck a raw nerve with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague and I want him to clarify that,” he said. “I’ve invited him, I wanted to reach out to him. He is my friend and I’ve worked with him, but, uh, this statement goes too far.”

“Republicans fumed last week when Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) revealed the contents of a private conversation with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) in a fiercely critical speech on the floor,” Politico added. “Democrats boiled over when Republicans forced them to bring in the ailing Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) for a 1 a.m. cloture vote on defense spending.”

“Hmm. Which senator’s circumstances are most likely to prevent him (or her! women!) from reaching a super-important 1 a.m. vote?” pondered Wonkette. “Maybe it’s Robert Byrd, the one who is famously dying and 107 years old? (It’s most likely that he died some months ago — Harry Reid is just pulling a lil’ Weekend At Bernie’s action until this health fucker passes.)”

Senator Byrd, often referenced as the Senate’s ‘dean’, is the longest serving U.S. lawmaker in history.

This video was broadcast by C-SPAN on Dec. 20, 2009, as snipped by Think Progress.

This video was broadcast by C-SPAN 2 on Dec. 20, 2009.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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