Obama: Illinois State Senate Confrontation, June 2002
On June 11, 2002, as a state senator, Obama and fellow state senator Rickey Hendon nearly threw down on the senate floor. At issue was a bill that would close a child-welfare office in Hendon’s district. Obama voted in favor of the bill—accidentally, he claims—but Hendon was irate. “There’s a rift between the African-Americans on the West Side and South Side here in Chicago,” says David Mendell, Tribune reporter and author of an Obama biography. “They’re competitive, and [Hendon] was saying that Obama voted against his project because he wanted to placate some fiscal conservatives, and it was a West Side–South Side thing.” Obama at one point put his hand on Hendon’s shoulder as a friendly gesture, but Hendon slapped it away. It didn’t take long before both men were engaged in a heated shouting match on the floor of the senate. When they took their argument to a different room, Obama allegedly had to be restrained. “According to people I interviewed who were there, they said Obama was ready to throw some punches,” says Mendell.
McCain: Meeting Room Outside the U.S. Senate, May 17, 2007
McCain has cursed out so many of his peers in the Senate and on the Hill that it’s tough to choose just one instance as his angriest. Many of his colleagues practically answer to “jerk.” And Chuck Grassley? “Fucking jerk.” (And then there’s his apparently joking response to a New Hampshire high-school student who last fall asked McCain what he thought about the possibility of being the oldest president ever: “Thanks for the question, you little jerk. You’re drafted.”) But McCain made headlines when he took on Senator John Cornyn during an immigration debate. When Cornyn complained that McCain’s campaign schedule was hampering his effectiveness on the immigration-law overhaul legislation, McCain retorted, “Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room!” “This is chickenshit stuff,” McCain continued. “You’ve always been against this bill, and you’re just trying to derail it.” McCain has since reconciled with Cornyn, that jerk.