Ticklegate: Only in America
From the country that gave us cigars in the White House pantry and the governor who went for a walk only to wind up in Buenos Aires doing the horizontal tango comes the latest proof that nobody does a jaw-dropping political scandal like Americans.
What began as a rumble about naked lobbying in the gym showers by Barack Obama’s chief of staff has turned into the cringe-inducing political wilting of US congressman Eric Massa, amid allegations of grown men in tickle fights, allegations of same-sex harassment and the spectre – raised by Massa himself – that there might be some unfortunate text messages on congressional staff phones.
After claiming just days ago he was pressured into resigning from Congress by Democrats, Massa, who is married with children, went on a highly-anticipated TV interview only to backtrack on his key allegations and then admit to all-in, all-guy tickle fights with staff.
Interviewer Glenn Beck, who was hoping for some dynamite revelations, was bewildered as Massa ended up admitting to groping his staff – but not, you know, that way.
“Not only did I grope him, I tickled him until he couldn’t breathe and then four guys jumped on top of me,” he said. “It was my 50th birthday. It was ‘kill the old guy’.”
And his career with it?
He explained it happened “in a townhouse; we all lived together, all the bachelors and me. My chief of staff had a conniption and said, ‘You can’t live there, that’s not congressional.’ “
Interesting use of the phrase “not congressional” there. It’s a lot of other things too.
Massa resigned from Congress last week citing health reasons but it has since emerged that his staff had raised concerns about his behaviour towards them and he was under investigation for harassment.
He then lashed out in a radio interview over the weekend, telling the story about Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, accosting him over his support for the President’s health legislation while they were both naked in the gym showers. He also said Emanuel would tie his kids to the front of a locomotive for a vote.
Massa even withdrew that last remark – a fairly straightforward political attack – during the interview.
Towards the end Beck asked if there were “Tiger Woods phone calls that are going to happen, or text messages?”
Massa: “I’m sure there are text messages because we bantered back and forth all the time.”
Raise your hand and in a sweeping motion, connect palm firmly with face.
If you want to read on the links below are a good start.
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