House Republican leader John Boehner uttered what the Associated Press called "a vulgar expression" Wednesday while discussing Barack Obama's voting record in Illinois.
While campaigning for John McCain, Boehner said Obama's failure to vote yes or no 129 times while a state lawmaker – opting instead to vote "present" – meant he was a "chickens---."
Boehner said that quality was the last thing America needed in a president.
"The point that Boehner was making was that Barack Obama has consistently avoided making tough decisions and taking tough votes, and voters need to know that," Boehner spokesman Jessica Towhey told AP. She said the Republican wasn't actually calling Obama the term, which Boehner used while speaking to about 100 people in Ohio, mostly Republican college students.
Obama voted present about 3.5 percent of the time as a state senator.
"In Congress we have a red button, a green button and a yellow button, all right. Green means 'yes,' 'red' means no, and 'yellow' means you're a chickens---," Boehner said. The comment resulted in the loudest applause of the event.
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During his talk, Boehner also disparaged Obama's work as a community organizer.
"This guy was a community organizer for 20 years," Boehner said. "If somebody can tell me what a community organizer is, maybe I can understand it better."
Obama spokesman Tom Reynolds called Boehner's words an angry attack.
"It's sad that John McCain and his supporters are closing their campaign with increasingly angry, desperate, false attacks instead of offering up a single thing John McCain would do differently on the economy than George Bush," Reynolds said.