Opening Panel Round

Originally published on April 16, 2011 11:29 am
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Right now, Panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Charlie, during the debate over the budget agreement, which got stuck over federal funding for Planned Parenthood, Senator Jon Kyl said on the Senate floor that ninety percent of Planned Parenthood's activities were providing abortion. It turns out that's off by about eighty-seven percent.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: When asked why he would say something like that, his spokesman said what?

CHARLIE PIERCE: He said that what Senator Kyl said about Planned Parenthood, quote, "Was not intended to be a factual statement."

: That is correct, Charlie.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

: So what was it intended to be if not a factual statement, the spokesman was asked? A heaping pile of post-digestive bull food, said the spokesman.

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: It turns out that this thing that Jon Kyl did, perfectly acceptable in the Senate. It's a secret, but age old tradition of Senate oratory. It's believed Daniel Webster invented the "not intended to be a factual statement" technique during his famous 1947 speech to that body. "I swear to you, good sir, the check is in the post."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

: According to Senate rules, a statement not intended to be factual must be preceded by a big wink to the clerk of the Senate.

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: Followed by the whispered warning, "Wait 'till they get a load of this one."

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: It's a great idea, though. It is so applicable to so many things, his ex post facto explanation.

LUKE BURBANK: Yeah.

: I mean it's like you cheat on your wife. She gets furious at you. She says, "You promised 'till death do we part." And you're like yes, but that was not intended to be a factual vow.

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PIERCE: It's one of these...

: I intended it to be true. I slipped up. It's fine.

PIERCE: I just have this wonderful vision of Richard Nixon in the political afterlife going, "The only one I didn't think of."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: I am not a crook. Not intended to be a factual...

: To be a factual statement. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.