Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri got too close to the live mike on the House floor Thursday when he let another lawmaker, a fellow Missourian, have it.
"So stick it up your a--," Skelton could be heard saying during the debate on a defense bill.
Not exactly a Joe Wilson moment. Still, it seemed in perfect tune with the nasty political tenor of the times.
As chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Skelton was shepherding the bill through the House. But he apparently was irritated over Republican objections to piggybacking hate crimes legislation onto the measure.
Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, a ranking member of an Armed Services subcommittee, argued that hate crimes had nothing to do with the defense bill and shouldn’t be part of it. Skelton reminded Akin that the same bill passed the Senate with “a strong bipartisan vote."
Then, as he turned away from the microphone, Skelton could be heard telling his fellow Show-me-Stater to take his concern and -- how do we put this politely? -- shove it.
Reached Friday afternoon, Skelton said that he'd just gotten frustrated. "In the heat of the moment, unfortunate things are said," he explained, adding that he and Akin are good friends and that he'd "express his regrets."
Akin aide Steve Taylor said that his boss "was quite shocked" by Skelton's off-color zinger, but was sure the two would patch things up.
"Akin was trying to make a very serious point about attaching liberal social legislation to a defense bill," Taylor said.
Meanwhile, Tom Erickson, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, called Skelton's "profane comments . . . yet another example that he’s losing touch with the values of his district."