Even More Bunning: Sign Language for ABC

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

Presented by

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

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Miniature 1950s Utopia

A reclusive artist built this idealized suburb to grapple with his painful childhood memories.

Video

Why Principals Matter

Nadia Lopez didn't think anybody cared about her school. Then the Internet heard her story.

Video

A History of Contraception

In the 16th century, men used linen condoms laced shut with ribbons.

Video

'A Music That Has No End'

In Spain, a flamenco guitarist hustles to make a modest living.

More in Politics

Just In