Whopper of the Week: Sen. Bill Frist.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Jan. 23 2003 6:27 PM

Whopper of the Week: Sen. Bill Frist

They don't teach arithmetic in medical school.

"I can tell you as a physician who has been in the operating room for thousands of days and hundreds of thousands [italics Chatterbox's]of hours ..."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on NBC's Meet the Press, Jan. 12

"Frist graduated in 1974 from Princeton University where he specialized in health care policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 1978, he graduated with honors from HarvardMedical School."

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Bio on Frist's Senate Web site

Discussion. Let's assume that Frist has been in an operating room 12 hours a day, every day, starting in September 1974 (which is the earliest he could have entered medical school). Frist wouldn't hit 200,000 hours (the minimum implied by "hundreds of thousands of hours") until January 2020. Indeed, Frist wouldn't have hit 100,000 until 1997, by which time he had held the (very time-consuming) job of U.S. senator for two years. Sure hope Frist's better at counting votes!

(Thanks to Cabot Lewis.)

Got a whopper? Send it to chatterbox@slate.com. To be considered, an entry must be an unambiguously false statement paired with an unambiguous refutation, and both must be derived from some appropriately reliable public source. Preference will be given to newspapers and other documents that Chatterbox can link to online.

Whopper Archive:
Jan. 17, 2003: Naji Sabri
Jan. 10, 2003: Rod Paige

(Click here to access the Whopper Archive for 2002 and here to access the Whopper Archive for 2001.)

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

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