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Tempest in a Teapot: A Lost Opportunity

September 24, 2009
Robert L. Hale

Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted “you lie” during President Obama’s recent address to a joint session of Congress. Such an outburst challenges our standards of appropriate decorum and civility. Following the address, Wilson called and apologized, and his apology was accepted.

That did not end the matter, however. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) then updated the House Rules “primer.” The primer is not the rules; rather, it provides guidelines as to what is appropriate and inappropriate to say in the House chamber.

The primer now states that members cannot call the President a liar or hypocrite, describe a veto as cowardly, say the president is intellectually dishonest or is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, or refer to sexual misconduct on the President’s part.

The story continues …..

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