Trump: It meant ‘got beaten badly’

Detroit News staff

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is defending his use of the word “schlonged” to describe Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.

“She was favored to win and she got schlonged. She lost,” Trump said during a campaign rally Monday night near Grand Rapids that became the latest media firestorm over the billionaire businessman’s unorthodox candidacy.

Trump’s comments quickly drew media scorn Tuesday because schlong is a vulgar Yiddish term for a man’s genitalia. (The verb schlonged has a more sexually explicit slang definition that’s not fit to print in a family newspaper.)

“When I said that Hillary Clinton got schlonged by Obama, it meant got beaten badly,” Trump said Tuesday in a tweet. “The media knows this. Often used word in politics!”

Author and media analyst Jeff Greenfield weighed in on Twitter Tuesday, saying Trump’s usage of the word is common in New York politics.

“On further review, Trump is right on this. ‘I got schlonged’ is a commonplace NY way of saying: ‘I lost big time,’ w/out genital reference,” Greenfield wrote on Twitter.

Trump’s “schlonged” comment came after, earlier in the speech, he vowed not to follow in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s footsteps and have the journalists who question him murdered.

Where’s Rubio?

Last week, when Congress was voting on the year-end omnibus spending bill, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was on Twitter promoting a 2016 calendar to benefit his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

In response, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Casdade Township, called out Rubio on Twitter:

“How about showing up for work today in Congress instead of selling wall calendars?” Amash posted.

Rubio missed the vote on the $1.8 trillion spending bill, shortly after he threatening to stall the legislation because it didn’t include a measure to require greater scrutiny of Syrian refugees resettling in the U.S.

Rubio has missed roughly half of the Senate’s votes since October. At the other extreme, Amash has missed no votes during his five years in Congress, voting 705 times in 2015 and amassing the “longest active voting streak in the House at 3,518 votes,” he says.

Conservative rankings

Sen. Phil Pavlov was the Michigan Legislature’s most-conservative member in 2015, according to Michigan Information and Research Service. The Capitol news outlet bases it ratings on how members voted on a selection of telling issues.

Will that most-conservative ranking prove to be a stepping stone? The St. Clair Republican is the second straight state senator to win the crown while also be running for Congress.

Pavlov wants to succeed U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, in Michigan’s 10th Congressional District. Miller is stepping down after seven terms in Congress and probably will be urged to run for governor in 2018.

The 2014 most-conservative state legislator was then-Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, who went to win the 4th Congressional District, a seat opened up by the retirement of former U.S. Rep. Dave Camp.

Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield, was rated the most-liberal member of the Legislature for the year gone by. He “edged” a three-time winner, Democratic Sen. Rebekah Warren of Ann Arbor, for the honor, according to MIRS.

Peters: Boost early voting

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters this week co-sponsored a bill to expand access to early voting in federal elections, following a move by the state Legislature last week rejecting efforts to expand early voting options in Michigan and eliminating straight-ticket voting.

“I am extremely disappointed in partisan political efforts in the Michigan Legislature that will erect barriers to the ballot box and make it harder for people to vote,” Peters said in a statement. “We should be looking for ways to expand — not restrict — voter access.”

Peters is supporting the Help America Vote Act of 2002 by requiring every state, at a minimum, to either provide seven consecutive days of early voting during the 10-day period before a federal election, or not require voters to supply an excuse in order to cast an absentee ballot by mail.

Michigan is not among the 33 states that have some form of early voting, and Michigan voters may request to vote absentee only if they are older than 60, cannot vote in person without assistance, expect to be out of town on Election Day, cite a religious obligation, work as an election precinct inspector or are in jail awaiting trial or arraignment.

Peters also supports the Voter Registration Modernization Act, which would create uniform standards and requirements for every state to allow online voter registration.

The battle of the Debbies

Two Democratic Debbies — Rep. Debbie Dingell of Dearborn and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida — have entered a friendly wager ahead of the University of Florida and University of Michigan facing off in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day in Orlando.

The lawmakers had a little fun on social media this week talking up the rivalry. Dingell is wagering a selection of products from Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, while Wasserman Schultz is wagering key-lime pies from Bob Roth’s New River Groves in Davie, Florida.

Dingell said, while the Gators may be playing close to home, Michigan has Coach Jim Harbaugh and fans with energy ready to see a repeat of the last bowl game match-up in 2008. “Looking forward to some FL key lime pie!” she posted on Twitter.

Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, said she’s “confident the Gators will send the Wolverines home from Florida with their tails between their legs.” On Twitter, She said, “The Zingerman's Deli food won't necessarily be clean cooked, but it WILL be delicious! #GoGators.”


Debbie Dingell kept up her husband’s long-time tradition of penning the annual Dingell Jingle this season. Rep. John Dingell had written a holiday ditty each Christmas until his retirement last year.

This year’s installment starts out, “‘Twas the day the House finally finished its business, We passed a budget! In time for Christmas!” and appearances by Madonna, Jim Harbaugh and Paul Ryan’s beard. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s true that being a freshman’s not always a dream

Especially when you follow someone like the Dean

But we share an approach not seen in a while

We believe in working across the congressional aisle

The year’s been filled with challenges and treats

We welcomed the Pope, who many wanted to meet

We fought for American workers, to make families’ lives better

Along the way, we may have ruffled the President’s feathers

What Madonna said about Michigan wasn’t so nice

Here’s hoping that next time she might think twice

Our Speaker retired, and we thanked him for trying

He worked hard and did well in between all the crying

So began the search to fill the job no one wanted

Enter Paul Ryan with a new beard he flaunted

From highways to schools, the last month’s been busy

Passing bills and making progress has left some quite dizzy

As 2016 approaches, we have an important decision

There’s fear that many will stand behind Trump’s vision

In Michigan there’s another pressing concern

Will the Wolverines have the victory they’ve earned?

To be sure, winning the Citrus Bowl is a must

Happy holidays to you and your family, and in Harbaugh we trust.

Contributors: Chad Livengood, Melissa Nann Burke and Gary Heinlein