Bad words debated in Calif. senate |

Bad words debated in Calif. senate

Don Thompson
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

SACRAMENTO, Calif. ” Has political discourse gone to hell?

State senators rushing to beat a legislative deadline Thursday took time out to debate whether the four-letter invective is too coarse for use on the House floor.

During debate over a regional planning bill, Sen. Tom McClintock, a Republican, used the word repeatedly to register his objections.

“Who the hell are you?” McClintock asked time and again, directing his comment to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento. McClintock later said he meant no insult to Steinberg.

Sen. Carole Migden, a San Francisco Democrat, asked McClintock to apologize.

“‘Who the hell are you’ is offensive,” she said.

The public use of profanity by political leaders has led to a decline in accepted standards for their use, Migden said. Vice President Dick Cheney famously used the F-word during an argument on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

McClintock offered to apologize, but not for using the word some lawmakers found offensive.

“I do agree that ‘preferred growth scenario’ is a profanity,” McClintock said, referring to language in Steinberg’s bill.

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, an Oakland Democrat, took McClintock’s side after consulting with the parliamentarian.

“We’re being advised it’s not a profanity,” Perata said.

In an interview after the debate, Steinberg said that while McClintock’s use of the word “was a little over the top, I personally was not offended.”

In an interview after the vote on Steinberg’s bill ” which passed ” McClintock said he believes no apology is needed.

“I can assure (Migden) that the word ‘hell’ is often used in church,” he said. “If it’s good enough for church, it’s good enough for the Senate floor.”

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