Today we’re introducing a new Pith
feature in which we honor the best bullshitters on the Tennessee political landscape. Lying comes naturally to politicians. But to win this coveted monthly award will take true talent, and we expect fierce competition from our legions of razor-tongued operators. Who told the biggest whopper of the past month? What do you think? And the nominees are:
“Absolutely not.” Gov. Phil Bredesen
, denying his media blitz to promote his idea for a Democratic superdelegate convention has interfered with his elected responsibilities. His visit to Washington, D.C., to appear on TV talk shows caused him to be two hours late for a Chattanooga meeting of constituents on his proposed reform of long-term care.
"When politicians hear the American people calling loud and clear for change, they'll listen." Al Gore
, kicking off a multimillion-dollar ad campaign calling for the U.S. to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“The nursing home industry expects and desires accountability.” Steve Flatt
, senior VP for National HealthCare Corp. arguing in the Scene
for legislation to limit the Tennessee nursing home industry’s legal liability for shoddy patient care.
“The life of one Tennessean is more important than the convenience of a couple hundred.” Kim Wallace
, president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, arguing before a state legislative committee that selling wine in supermarkets will lead to more winos.
“Heaven forbid that I should put out something that is incorrect. Thank you for pointing it out." State Rep. Dolores Gresham
, Republican from Somerville, after Commercial Appeal
reporter Rick Locker informed her that her first state Senate campaign press release incorrectly said she sponsored and passed the largest tax cut in Tennessee history. Gresham, who was referring to last year’s half-cent sales tax cut in grocery food, was neither a sponsor nor co-sponsor of the bill.
“I work a lot of weekends. I work on Fridays. I work at home a lot.” State Rep. Gary Odom
, Democrat from Nashville, explaining in the Scene
how he manages to earn his pay as executive director of the Tennessee Optometric Association during legislative sessions.
“I was using this term according to its common, colloquial meaning.” Gus Puryear
, top lawyer for Corrections Corp. of America and now a federal judicial nominee, explaining to Sen. Ted Kennedy why he told the Senate Judiciary Committee that four CCA guards had been “exonerated” in an inmate’s death when, in fact, the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
"Increasing the coal severance tax won't just contribute to higher electric rates, it also will hurt coal miners, coal mining companies who do business in the state, and the workers at the barge companies that transport Tennessee coal to customers."
State GOP flack Bill Hobbs
arguing in a press release against legislation that would bring Tennessee's tax into line with other states.
“A lot of people were skeptical when Bob jumped in the race, wondering how he was going to beat Lamar Alexander. My answer is simple. Senator Alexander is a Washington politician and a pretty fair piano player. Bob Tuke is a seasoned and experienced leader, a Marine who will bring hope and change to the U.S. Senate, work to end the Iraq War with honor, help improve our economy and reform health care in America. Simply put, I like our chances.”
Bob Tuke campaign manager Ben Chao
in a fundraising email.