Mississippi GOP Sen. Thad Cochran insists that he is not retiring from Congress, despite widespread speculation about the veteran lawmaker’s health and political future.
The 79-year-old Cochran appeared frail and at times disoriented during a brief hallway interview on Wednesday. He was unable to answer whether he would remain chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and at one point, needed a staffer to remind him where the Senate chamber is located.
“Don’t believe everything you hear,” Cochran said in a low voice when asked whether he planned to retire after 44 years in office.
However, when queried over whether he would stay on as Appropriations chairman, Cochran seemed confused and just repeated the question. “As chairman of the Appropriations Committee?” Cochran asked.
Cochran had to be guided around a security checkpoint inside the Capitol by staffers. He began to walk into a first-floor room — the Senate chamber is on the second floor — and was retrieved by an aide. He was then taken up to the Senate.
When another reporter asked if leadership had pressured him to return for a vote on the budget resolution — a key moment in the tax reform debate — Cochran smiled and responded, “It’s a beautiful day outside.” – “Frail And Disoriented, Cochran Says He’s Not Retiring” Politico, 10/18/17
“Senator Cochran, are you thinking about retiring?”
“The Senate, sir. It’s not a ‘who.’ It is the country’s senior legislative body.”
“You wanna talk bodies, then we gotta talk Jayne Mansfield. Everybody knows her for her titty-balls, but the woman had a back porch you could sit on all afternoon.”
“Senator, are you okay?”
“The Chinese invented spaghetti. Lotta people don’t know that.”
“What’s your name, young man?”
“Oh, that’s lovely. My momma was a kind woman. She carried dimes in her purse to hand out to negro children.”
“Yes, sir. Very kind.”
“She was a saint. The negros did not deserve my momma.”
“Sir, there’s talk that your health may have declined.”
“Nonsense. I could leap straight over that desk right there.”
“That’s not a desk, sir. That’s Ted Cruz.”
“Oh, I wish I was–“
“Please don’t sing this song, sir.”
“–in da land of cotton.”
“Oh, and you’re doing it in dialect. Wonderful.”
“Old times dere are not forgotten.”
“Uh-huh. Sir, I think it’s time for you to vote.”
“Thurmond in ’48!”
“It is not 1948, sir. And Strom Thurmond is dead.”
“Probably too much Chinese spaghetti. Told him to lay off the starch.”
“Could be, sir. Can you answer one more question?”
“Of course I can. I’m a United States Senator. I can answer any question.”
“Where are you right now, sir?”
“Except that one.”