Even More Bunning: Sign Language for ABC

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Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), the former Cy Young perfect-game pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, has been in the news today for opposing an extension of unemployment insurance (Megan McArdle has written about Bunning today here and here).

He also has a reputation as the surliest member of the United States Senate.

Combined, the attention and rumored surliness have produced something like this, reported today by ABC's Jonathan Karl:

When Senate producer Z. Byron Wolf spotted Bunning exiting his office, Bunning said, "I'm not talking to anybody."  When Wolf asked him to stay and talk to our cameras, Bunning walked toward the elevator and shot the middle finger over his head.

In Bunning's defense, I will say this: Karl writes that Bunning got angry because the reporter tried to follow him onto a senators-only elevator. While this could sound strange and pretentious on Bunning's part, this is a big rule for reporters in the Senate: some elevators are for senators only, and you can't get on them with a lawmaker unless you're invited--especially when votes are happening (some congressional elevators have orange lights that come on when votes are happening, near the button to call the elevator, to indicate that the elevator is only for lawmakers). Karl's post contains video of the elevator back-and-forth (though not the finger), and it appears Karl and the ABC boom mic prevent the elevator door from closing (it looks unintentional).

Just some pertinent background on Bunning's outrage in the video posted by ABC.

Thumbnail image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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