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The Notable and Quotable Barney Frank The Notable and Quotable Barney Frank

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The Notable and Quotable Barney Frank


Former Democratic Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts.(Richard A. Bloom)

Now-retired Rep. Barney Frank said he'd be interested in filling Sen. John Kerry's potentially vacant seat until a special election later this year. The Massachusetts Democrat said as such on MSNBC on Friday—and if it actually happens, political junkies could be in for a treat. Imagine a Barney Frank Senate floor speech.

So in that spirit, here's a compilation of some of Frank's most provocative quotes:

  • After announcing his retirement, he said that an upshot is that he doesn't have to campaign and “[he] doesn’t have to pretend to be nice to people [he] doesn’t like anymore.”
  • That's right, he's not a fan of campaigning. Frank said on Friday on Morning Joe that he wanted to get the seat, but doesn't want to serve beyond that, in part, because he's not interested in campaigning. "It’s only a three-month period. I wouldn’t want to do anything more. I don’t want to run again."
  • In a radio interview last year, Frank referred to Log Cabin Republicans as Uncle Toms: “I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: Their role model is Uncle Tom."
  • He made an awkward joke shortly after the Trayvon Martin shooting. In talking about activist Hubie Jones getting an honorary degree at University of Massachusetts, Frank said, "You know when you get an honorary degree they give you one of these. Hubie, I think you have a hoodie you can wear and nobody will shoot at you." Frank later apologized and said he used a similar joke at his own expense at other commencement ceremonies.
  • When explaining his 1986 vote against antidrug legislation, Frank said “This bill is the legislative equivalent of crack. It yields a short-term high but does long-term damage to the system, and it’s expensive to boot."

Frank is also known for being wry, witty and quick on his toes:

  • On how being gay is different than belonging to other minority groups: “Race has been much more devastating, but there's one psychological factor [that's different]: Very few black kids have ever had to worry about telling their parents that they were black.”
  • At a 2009 health care town-hall meeting, in which a questioner compares President Obama to a Nazi, Frank responds: "Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."


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