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Torricelli's Anniversary: A Speech for the Ages

Bob Torricelli

Six years ago today, former New Jersey Sen. Bob Torricelli gave us all a speech to remember.

It's been six years to the day since former New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Torricelli resigned his seat, delivering one of the most memorably bad speeches in modern American political history.

Thanks to the Post's Paul Kane, who observes this day each year by sending around the text of the Torch's resignation speech to a handful of folks who followed his career closely, we never forget to honor what is -- without question -- our favorite address in the decade or so we have been covering politics.

The New York Times -- bless them! -- still has the full speech online but we have excerpted the best of the best below for the consumption of Fixistas. It was tough to leave anything from this incredibly good/bad speech on the cutting room floor but that's why they pay The Fix the small bucks.

For those of you wondering what Torricelli is doing these days, he's a lobbyist and a blogger (who isn't?) at PolitickerNJ.

• Torricelli's recounting of running into Egyptian President Anwar Sadat as a young man: "He said, 'Son, who are you?' I said, 'I'm Bob Torricelli.' And he said to me, 'What is it you want to do with your life?' I said, 'Mr. President, I'm going to be a member of the United States Congress.'"

• His "self deprecation" about elected office: "In public life, if you actually seek more than satisfaction for yourself in the things you achieve, you will always be frustrated. I've never been frustrated, because it's enough for me."

• A recitation of his accomplishments -- a long list: "Somewhere today in one of several hospitals in New Jersey, some woman's life is going to be changed because of the mammography centers that I created for thousands of women. Somewhere tonight in Bergen County, if a women is beaten, if she fears for her child, she'll spend the night in a center that I created for abused children so they can be safe. Somewhere today, because I changed the gun laws, a man who would abuse his wife will never own a weapon, and somebody will live. Some child in Bergen County will play in a park that I funded, in land that I saved. Somewhere all over New Jersey, some senior citizen who doesn't even know my name and nothing about what we're going today will live in a senior center that I helped to build."

• A Life-Changer: "That's my life. Don't feel badly for me; I changed people's lives. I'm proud of every day of it. And I wouldn't change a bit of it."

• Torch and Bubba: "President Clinton called several times today from Great Britain. We recalled all the fights that we were in together, all the times I went to the White House and told him in the darkest days that what I admired about him is that 'You never give up. You never compromise, you never stop, you never give up.' The phone connection wasn't the best, but I could hear his voice crack. I admire that man so much."

• Forgiveness: "When we did become such an unforgiving people? How we did we become a society when a person can build credibility your entire life to have it questioned by someone whose word is of no value at all? When did we stop believing in and trusting in each other?"

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 30, 2008; 5:55 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Senate  
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Next: Palin's War on the Press

Comments

Chris left out what was by far the best part of Torricelli's speecch:

"In a foolish moment in my life, when I was no more than 5 or 6, my mother entered my room one day, and I was writing out my will. She said, 'Robert, why are you doing this? And whoever are you leaving your things to?' I left the only things I ever owned -- I wrote on it -- I wrote on it, 'To the United States Marine Corps' -- because that's where my father had served -- 'and to my country.' "

Posted by: ILoveAmerica | October 1, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

bondjedi writes
"Just think of the wealth of Sarah Palin material being accumulated for ten years hence."

Come to think of it, its the 20th anniversary of Dan Quayle's election to office. Perhaps a Quayle-Palin montage is in order.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 1, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"WILL GWEN IFILL ASK VP CANDIDATES ABOUT THIS...

THE FIRST-EVER ACTIVE DEPLOYMENT OF U.S. ARMY TROOPS INSIDE THE U.S. -- WHAT HAPPENED TO "POSSE COMITATUS?"

Gwen won't ask about that nor ever ask Obambi about THIS:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISRYDNvt_T0


Posted by: nickthimmeschearthlinknet | October 1, 2008 3:24 AM | Report abuse

WILL GWEN IFILL ASK VP CANDIDATES ABOUT THIS...

THE FIRST-EVER ACTIVE DEPLOYMENT OF U.S. ARMY TROOPS INSIDE THE U.S. -- WHAT HAPPENED TO "POSSE COMITATUS?"

(From Democracynow.org, 9/22:)

Beginning in October, the Army plans to station an active unit inside the United States for the first time to serve as an on-call federal response in times of emergency.

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent thirty-five of the last sixty months in Iraq, but now the unit is training for domestic operations.

The unit will soon be under the day-to-day control of US Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command.

The Army Times reports this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.

The paper says the Army unit may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control. The soldiers are learning to use so-called nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals and crowds.

*****

Do the candidates believe the President has the authority to use the armed forces for active duty in domestic deployment, what appears to be a violation of the 130-year-old "Posse Comitatus Act"?

Is it true that Biden, appearing on Fox News, endorsed that concept?

Is Sarah Palin familiar with the term "posse comitatus" and the principle for which it stands? Could she explain the concept and why it's important to the preservation of American democracy and civil liberties?

What the Army speaks of "non-lethal weapons," are they referring to "directed energy weapons" that emit silent bursts of various forms of radiation, such as microwaves -- energy that can induce illness, causes injury, and even death?

And what do Barack Obama and John McCain have to say about this?

Are they concerned that silent, dangerous "directed energy weapons", which have been imprecisely described as "non-lethal," could be used as a weapon against perceived POLITICAL "enemies?"

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 1, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Unlike Clinton, Biden Gets Pass for Saying He Was 'Shot At' in Iraq

When Hillary Clinton told a tall tale about "landing under sniper fire" in Bosnia, she was accused of "inflating her war experience" by Barack Obama's campaign -- but the campaign has been silent about Joe Biden telling his own questionable story about being "shot at" in Iraq.

http://mccain08-hillary2012.blogspot.com/

Posted by: dcpsychic | September 30, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

FIXISTA, BEWARE: IS BIG BROTHER HACKING YOU?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/parallel-internet-big-brother-screening-censoring-political-blogs OR (if the link becomes disabled)
members.nowpublic.com/scrivener re: "The Parallel Internet..."

p.s. If my links don't work, could you please contact nowpublic.com site administrators via their "contact" page or a post to another nowpublic.com blog? My blog site apparently is under constant attack...

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 30, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

I believe this was an issue 6 years ago. Why is it important again 34 days before election. Isn't the Rangel mess enough?

Posted by: txajohnson | September 30, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Here we go again with the hypocrisy. Where's your outrage over Ted Stevens, or Don Young? Where were you on Duke Cunningham or Bob Ney?

Oh, I see! It's only Democrats who should be ashamed of their less than ethical members.

On second thought, you may have a point. Democrats should start holding themselves to a higher standard. After all, Republicans seem to have no standards whatsoever.

Posted by: cam8 | September 30, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm not defending anyone. I thought Torricelli should go when he went. His actions were unacceptable for a public official of any kind.

On the other hand, I find it telling that you're so quick to become defensive when someone questions you on hypocrisy. Your alleged "One of the best blogs for the 2008 election" on Myspace kind of gives you away in your Republican bias. And I couldn't help but notice how you deflected my bringing up Mark Foley by questioning my integrity.

Let's go attack for attack:

So you draw the line at questionable campaign contributions and adulterous sex between consenting adults, but preying on teenage House pages is a-ok? Are you a pedophile?

Posted by: cam8 | September 30, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

This is the problem: Rangel should resign Clinton should have resigned - these DEMOCRATS should resign when clearly they engage in these kinds of activities.


Instead the DEMOCRATIC PARTY SUPPORTS THESE GUYS


What does that tell you about the Democrats? The Democrats want all these people to get away with everything.


THAT ONLY ENCOURAGES WORSE BEHAVIOR.


PERIOD. GET RID OF THE DEMOCRATS WHO REFUSE TO KEEP THEIR OWN PEOPLE CLEAN.

.

Posted by: 37thandOStreet | September 30, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse


Cam8


Are you defending Torricelli?


Do you think he should still be in office?


Do you think Torricelli should still be taking money from the credit card company lobbyists?


It is YOU CAM8 who I question now - you are not fit to have ANY INVOLVEMENT at all in any politics or government which involves the public trust, taxpayer money or the public interest.

You have shown that your judgement is so bad you should stay away from politics forever.


Go Away NOW.

.

Posted by: 37thandOStreet | September 30, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse


Actually the most shocking portion of the speech was the Forgiveness part - coming from Torricelli who was the most RUTHLESS AND UNFORGIVING PERSON TO EVER BE IN CONGRESS.


Torricelli was one of the most self-centered and evil men in politics.


Torricelli is the one who had no credibility on the way out the door - and for Torricelli again to say that David Chang was a liar when NBC News showed the EVIDENCE on television the night before was a complete joke.


Torricelli had many other scandals.


Clearly the Torricelli situation was several different scandals converging on Torricelli at once - he deserved every one of them - plus there were other allegations which people were urging the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate. Believe me Torricelli was a disturbed and sick man who should have never been allowed to hold public office in the first place - you can blame his own democratic party for not getting rid of him earlier in his career when they had several chances to support other candidates.


The pathetic nature of the democratic party led to Torricelli's rise.


In addition, one has to take notice that the democratic party officials CHOSE TO SIT BY AND DO NOTHING FOR YEARS WHEN ALLEGATION AFTER ALLEGATION CONCERNING TORRICELLI TURNED UP. Harry Reid in particular chose to look the other way when allegations came to his office.


CLEARLY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO PLACE FORTH TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE RESPECTABLE AND SOLID CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.


The lesson should be: the democratic party should get rid of their officials when it is clear that allegations are true - instead they have no mechanism and they always look the other way - the democratic party is at fault.


.

Posted by: 37thandOStreet | September 30, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

37th & O:

Only someone who is so completely in the bag for the Republican Party can go off on the kind of rant you just did without feeling a shred of hypocrisy.

You know, the party of Mark Foley? That Republican Party.

Posted by: cam8 | September 30, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Just think of the wealth of Sarah Palin material being accumulated for ten years hence.

Posted by: bondjedi | September 30, 2008 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Actually the most shocking portion of the speech was the Forgiveness part - coming from Torricelli who was the most RUTHLESS AND UNFORGIVING PERSON TO EVER BE IN CONGRESS.


Torricelli was one of the most self-centered and evil men in politics.


Torricelli is the one who had no credibility on the way out the door - and for Torricelli again to say that David Chang was a liar when NBC News showed the EVIDENCE on television the night before was a complete joke.


Torricelli had many other scandals.


Clearly the Torricelli situation was several different scandals converging on Torricelli at once - he deserved every one of them - plus there were other allegations which people were urging the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate. Believe me Torricelli was a disturbed and sick man who should have never been allowed to hold public office in the first place - you can blame his own democratic party for not getting rid of him earlier in his career when they had several chances to support other candidates.


The pathetic nature of the democratic party led to Torricelli's rise.


In addition, one has to take notice that the democratic party officials CHOSE TO SIT BY AND DO NOTHING FOR YEARS WHEN ALLEGATION AFTER ALLEGATION CONCERNING TORRICELLI TURNED UP. Harry Reid in particular chose to look the other way when allegations came to his office.


CLEARLY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS UNWILLING OR UNABLE TO PLACE FORTH TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE RESPECTABLE AND SOLID CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.


The lesson should be: the democratic party should get rid of their officials when it is clear that allegations are true - instead they have no mechanism and they always look the other way - the democratic party is at fault.


.

Posted by: 37thandOStreet | September 30, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Is there a video?

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 30, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

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