WTF Did Biden Just Say?
A brief history of bad language in Washington.
Cheney falls more in the LBJ camp than Biden. When on the Senate floor he told Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy to go have intercourse with himself. Later, Cheney explained the experience had been a kind of purgative: "I expressed myself rather forcefully and felt better off after I had done it."
Nixon is perhaps the greatest prizewinner in both categories. As a presidential candidate in 1960, he made an issue of Harry Truman's use of bad words like "hell" and "son-of-a-bitch" that now hardly get a blink. "I'm very proud that President Eisenhower restored dignity and decency and, frankly, good language to the conduct of the presidency of the United States," he said. (This may have been because Truman used bad words to talk about Nixon, whom he disliked intensely.)
Behind closed doors however, he seemed to uncork a new one with every turn of his reel-to-reel tape recorder. It makes sense when you think about it. He did start out as a vice president.
Correction, March 23, 2010: The article originally included mention of a profanity, aimed at a New York Times reporter, that the article incorrectly attributed to Dick Cheney. In fact, it was candidate Bush, not his running mate Cheney, who uttered the remark. (Return to the corrected sentence.)