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Great Political Wit:
Shortly after his defeat in the 1996 U.S. presidential election, Republican Bob Dole was invited to appear on David Letterman's Late Show. Letterman asked Dole about President Clinton's weight, but Dole wasn't taking the bait. "I never tried to lift him," he retorted. "I just tried to beat him." That was the first time many Americans got to see a side of Bob Dole rarely revealed to the public during his 36 years on Capitol Hill--the dry, wicked sense of humor that quickly became a defining characteristic of his postpolitical career.
Great Political Wit collects some of Bob Dole's favorite humorous anecdotes about American politicians--and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who gets most of the handful of truly savage putdowns. (Told by one female member of the House of Commons that he was drunk, Churchill replied, "You're ugly, and tomorrow morning I'll be sober, but you'll still be ugly.") If you like the "Laughter Is the Best Medicine" section of Reader's Digest, the stories about pols like Ronald Reagan, Tip O'Neill, and Woodrow Wilson are sure to make you smile. This reviewer's candidate for the funniest American president, though, would have to be Calvin Coolidge, especially after reading about the time that, at a ceremony for the laying of a cornerstone, Coolidge turned over a spadeful of dirt and then fell silent. Prompted by the master of ceremonies to say something, Coolidge looked down at the ground and remarked, "That's a fine fish worm." --Ron Hogan [via]