Hey, what’s with all the cussin’ at 1600 Penn?

President Barack Obama called rap star Kanye West “a jackass.” Vice President Joe Biden told a senator to “Gimme a fucking break!” Economic adviser Christina Romer declared that Americans had yet to have their “holy shit” moment over the economy.

Those who pay attention to political rhetoric say an unusual amount of profanity has emanated from this White House – even without counting famously colorful White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel. But before this statement becomes fodder for yet another partisan debate (with conservatives saying Obama is disgracing the presidency, and liberals that the media are once again being unfair), they quickly add that Team Obama is no crasser than administrations past. It’s just that they are being quoted more accurately.

What’s different, according to linguists, media analysts and reporters who’ve covered past administrations is the media: Networks and newspapers have become far more willing to run with quotes, video and audio of political figures and their aides saying things that never used to be repeated. They attribute the growth of the political potty mouth alternately to the proliferation of recording technologies; intense interest in all things Obama; the explosion of new media platforms that both circumvent and push traditional media while sharpening competition; a general coarsening of the public dialogue; or some combination of all of those factors.

Full story on Politico.Com


  1. storky

    With true obscenities still unaddressed, who gives a flying fuck. The Bush Administration War Crimes have not been fully investigated, or prosecuted. The Iraq and Afghanistan occupations still cost lives needlessly

    “We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write “fuck” on their airplanes because it’s obscene!” — Martin Sheen as Cptn Willard in Apocalypse Now

  2. gazelle1929

    It all seems to pale into insignificance when you compare it to a previous President who called the US Constitution “just a god-damned piece of paper.” Those words were probably the most obscene ever uttered in the Oval Office.

  3. colocritic

    I don’t think it’s necessary we know about this type of language. The nation, as a whole, has become much more tolerant of this type of language and the more it’s tolerated, the more wide spread it will be used. Most of us are guilty of using some strong “expressions” once in awhile.

    These are frustrating times and shucks and darn just don’t cut the mustard, especially when dealing with the impossible republicans these days.


  4. John Q

    Garbage in. Garbage out.

    What comes out a person’s mouth is what’s inside that person.

    No more. No less.

  5. bogofree

    Amazing how acceptable standards continue to evaporate as the years go by. TV makes an excellent bellweather for this as you can trace the language and sexual content through the decades.

    If someone cannot make a statement without every other word being uttered the “F” word then don’t say it. Franky, the constant profanity has lessened its shock value.