March 2nd, 2010
05:32 PM ET
8 years ago

Bunning's abrasive behavior spans careers

 Baseball Hall of Famers Sen. Jim Bunning, right, and Robin Roberts appear at a 2009 MLB World Series game.

Baseball Hall of Famers Sen. Jim Bunning, right, and Robin Roberts appear at a 2009 MLB World Series game.

Washington (CNN) - GOP Sen. Jim Bunning is standing alone - much like a baseball pitcher on the mound - as he continues to block a measure that would extend cash and health insurance benefits for the unemployed.

The Kentucky Republican, who is retiring at the end of this term, argues that he doesn't oppose extending the programs; he just doesn't want to add to the deficit.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger, who spoke with a Republican in the Senate, said members of the GOP feel Bunning "has the right idea" in questioning how the extension would be paid for, but think "it is the wrong fight for them to wage right now."

The fear from many Republicans, Borger noted, is that it plays right into the Democrats' narrative that Republicans are obstructionists.

Bunning's views, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins said, "do not represent the majority of the Republican caucus." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Bunning's legislative tactics "terribly inappropriate" and "very out of line."

The tensions have seemingly taken a toll on Bunning, who is the first member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress.

Bunning, observers have noted, has a history of being abrasive.

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Filed under: Jim Bunning
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Nosey Canadians should mind their own business

    He needs a good old fashioned meeting at the mound and a bloody nose for hitting a batter on purpose.

    March 2, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  2. usualone

    Bunning's actions do fall in line with the talk most of the Republicans put forth. He is just bolder about showing the truth about his party, although he uses the guise that he doesn't want the deficit to grow. Maybe those in the middle class and poorer class who think the Republicans believe in helping them will realize that this man really isn't one who walks alone.

    March 2, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Another Reformed Republican

    Bunning is just a typical republican idiot! Enough said!

    March 2, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  4. Alan

    Mr. Bunning

    I know how we can pay for the unemployment insurance. Let's attach your salary and that of every senator and house rep that put this country into a jobless tailspin now lasting over 8 yrs long.

    I'd love to have the DC Sheriff serve a wage garnishment on you especially Sir. How dare you ask now that things be paid for when your sorry party was 'in control' you didn't give a dam.

    Much like your sorried career in baseball where class pitchers like Koufax ruled the mound, you much like Mr. Juan Marishall did to Johnny Roseborro have just cracked your aging sorry butt bat over the hearts and wallets of those who are already down and out.

    I wish for you like you've done to this country, only pain and suffering all your remaining days on earth.

    March 2, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    This man has been a hero to many. He even pitched a no hitter on Father's Day; sort of an American icon. Too bad that in his twilight years he will be remembered as a bad guy out to screw the middle class and the poor!

    March 2, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. Gerry NH

    Congress passed a pay as you go bill last week and the first bill that comes along they don't want to pay for it. We need to dump congress.

    March 2, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. Donnatella

    This man is crazy if he thinks people like being unemployed, I know you republicans think you have it in the bag this November, I don't think , we are watching and waiting, you guys suck, all you care about is big business and that is not what the country needs right now. A lot of people are disalusioned with your party, do you think we want to vote you guys back in so we can end up where we started from. I don't think so.

    March 2, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  8. HypocriCNN Is #1 In Unprofessional Journalism!

    I'm Going To Play Devil's Advocate, What Senator Jim Bunning (The Kentucky Fried Idiot) Has Done Is Show Us What Would Happen If People Don't Pay Attention To The News. Watch All 3 Versions Of CSPAN, And Learn More About The People Who They Elect To Government. For Every Jim Bunning, There's A Jim DeMint, Jeff Sessions, And Richard Shelby.

    March 2, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. They call me "tater salad"

    This clown will no longer be relevant in another 10 months anyway, so who gives a crap! November can't get here soon enough!!!!

    March 2, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. marty

    Cut Congressional pay by at least ten percent.
    Reduce pensions for all government employees, including the retirees, by one half.
    Require all government employees from the President on down and
    including retirees, to pay for forty percent of their health insurance.
    Require all of Congress to pay for their own food, haircuts and gym privileges.

    This could be a nice start for Mr. Bunning to pay for the unemployed benefits.

    March 2, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Bunning didn't mind adding to the deficit when he voted for irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy during wartime – under GW Bush, something unprecedented in our nation's history.

    But you see, folks, Bunning is just following in lockstep the orders from the GOP leadership of doing whatever he can to try to make President Obama and our country fail.

    Because all the GOP cares about is money and power – and to heck with the average American!

    GOP = Party Before Country

    March 2, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. freda

    Jim Bunning is a first class nut. I'm sure he is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame at the expense of the people who are in a financial struggle. I guess he has asked himself why should deny himself the 15 minutes since he has nothing to lose. He has no heart and he, like the other too old people trying to tell us what's good for us, does not care.

    I'm sure lots of people would like to invite Bunning to their house one week, or even a day, and allow him to witness what it is like not having lights, gas, food, no money to buy necessicities for the children and on and on and on. I guess I'm living in a fanatasy world because I know he wouldn't be able to look a person so unfortunate in their eyes. He doesn't have a heart so he certainly would not be compassionate.

    Bottom line – He's enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. I don't understand how he, and many others like him, can sleep at night.

    March 2, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  13. Lee

    Sen. Bunning is now worried about spending but where was his outrage when we invaded two countries? Spending costs went up because of the Bush Administration.

    Wake up people he only cares now because it DOESN"T affect him! He's not out of work! American citizens need his help and he's trying to prevent it! If not for the grace of God go I! I'm fed up with the Conservatives who claim to be Christians, give me a break! You help hurting people even when you don't want to! Thats being a REAL Christian!

    I paid for a war I didn't want now its time for you to pay for something you don't want!

    March 2, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Mickey

    More bizarre behavior by a Republican. The GOP has devolved into nothing more than a domestic terrorist group.

    March 2, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Bunning, McConnell - they're both from the same cloth. WAKE UP KENTUCKY. You have to IDIOTS running your part for/of the state in DC. Bunning is out – Impeach Turtle-face and get people to represent you that care about PEOPLE, not corporations.

    March 2, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    This man is just a mean spirited man, is he Christian? Because if he is, he needs to read the Gospels!

    "Whatsoever you do unto the least of these, you have done unto Me." ~ Jesus

    March 2, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. John

    Pretty much the Standard Operating Procedure for self righteous conservatives everywhere.

    March 2, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Ela

    Why am I am paying for Bunning's health care again?
    Wait, why are you paying for Bunning's health care too?

    Why is Bunning more entitled to full benefits (the ones he'll continue receiving when he retires next year) than a laid off teacher, firefighter or police man?

    These Republican jokers need to put our money where their mouths are and shell out for their own health care. Maybe then people could take them seriously.

    If our tax dollars can't go to support us when we're down, then they sure as heck shouldn't go toward any senator's health care bills.

    I am so fed up with Republicans' arrogance and greed! We need to vote – them – out!

    March 2, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. William

    What do you get when a sports figure becomes a US Senator? Absolutely nothing!

    March 2, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  20. jules sand-perkins

    As a baseball player, Jim Bunning is a great star.
    Stars tend to behave as they wish, and I think that's exactly as it should be: look at what they have to go through to get to be stars.
    If stars go into another field–well, you never stop being a star.
    I support Norma Desmond 100%.

    March 2, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. Steve Mial

    Bunning's pitch on extension of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who are suffering for reason not of their own is "Low and Outside"


    March 2, 2010 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  22. Jim

    You folks don't understand what Bunning was doing. He was stating that any future spending ($10 billion bill) needed to be paid for. That is what OBAMA SAID on February 13 in his weekly radio address. OBAMA said ANY FUTURE Congressional SPENDING needed to be paid for using PAYGO. Bunning was doing what Obama said. It is amazing the politics in this...Oh by the way this is to extend unemployment benefits for now get this .... almost 2 years! As benefits continue to be extended, people will be less inclined to search for work. In Utah, unemplyment is 6.7%. It is that low because people get around a maximum of 40 weeks of ue benefits.

    March 2, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. i never got a job from a poor guy or a liberal

    if we have 500Billion from the porkulus bill, take 10 billion and give these lazy sobs their money and satellite tv. that is how he wants it paid for.

    March 2, 2010 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. shooter

    Lay off 3 old crooks:
    1) McCain.
    2) Bunning.
    3) Lieberman.
    Witholding their pension payments, cut off their free health care, throw them out in the streets and provide no unemployment insurance to all of them.

    March 2, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. shoot

    This crook must be the same as McCain with a known bad temper. Lay them off.

    March 2, 2010 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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