Congressional potty mouths remain a mystery

WASHINGTON — Most people are curious for a peek into just what the nation’s leaders do and say when they are behind closed doors.

So naturally ears perked up a few days ago when Politico reported on a "heated, sometimes profane" late night meeting Thursday where House and Senate Democratic leaders vented over their problems in getting a $410 billion omnibus spending bill passed.

"Staff, kicked out in the hall, could hear the yelling," it was reported.

In a meeting with Nevada reporters today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was asked just who was being profane. Was it House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

Like a gentleman, Reid was not one to kiss and tell. Or cuss and tell.

"I was in that room for a while and I don’t think anybody said a bad word," Reid said.

"There were people who were talking loudly. This whole thing was kind of frustrating. No one said any bad words. Certainly Pelosi didn’t. I didn’t. (Sen. Dick) Durbin didn’t. (Rep. Steny) Hoyer doesn’t talk that way.

"The only one who tends to give the Rahm Emanuel version of the English language is (Rep. David) Obey, because he tends to swear a little bit. But none of the others do, and Obey didn’t that night."

Obey, who is from Wisconsin, does tend to speak his mind. Emanuel, a former House member who now is White House chief of staff, is famous for his barnyard language.

But if everyone was on their best behavior, what was it that staffers reported hearing?

"I think they must have made it up," Reid said.

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