Former Vice Adm. Joe Sestak has more than enough qualifications to discuss the government shutdown on a cable news network:
- He served two terms in the House of Representatives, representing a suburban Philadelphia district.
- He ran for Senate in 2010 and might run again in 2016.
- He spent more than three decades in the Navy, serving as the deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and programs before being removed from that post by newly minted Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen in 2005.
- He’s got a pulse (Seriously, cable will talk to anybody).
Sestak’s Wednesday appearance on MSNBC, though, has drawn less interest for what he said than for how he said it. Near the end of his interview, speaking about the potential danger posed to Veterans Affairs Department beneficiaries if the government’s budget balloon isn’t patched by Nov. 1, the former admiral said the following: “If that debt ceiling is broken, we will have up to 40 percent of our veterans thrown out of the VA system, no longer being able to take care of their limbs.” (The subject of prostheses for service members had come up earlier.)
“Look,” he continued, “let me tell you what a taxi driver just told me as I was driving in here today. …”
What could go wrong with quoting a cabbie on national TV? Here’s a clip.
The S-word triggered multiple blog entries, most with a common headline theme (thanks to both for the heads-up). But while Sestak’s record isn’t considered spotless, it’s likely most voters (and veterans, and service members, and so on …) can sympathize with explaining the current government standoff using less-than-G-rated language.
See the full interview here. An MSNBC anchor reportedly apologized for the language later in the broadcast.