Dave Helling

Dave Helling: Pat Roberts inserts other shoe into mouth

Sen. Pat Roberts should leave jokes about mammograms to the professional comedians, writes Dave Helling.
Sen. Pat Roberts should leave jokes about mammograms to the professional comedians, writes Dave Helling. AP

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas is getting accustomed to the taste of shoe leather.

Thursday, the Republican was asked about the furor over changes to the Affordable Care Act. “I sure don’t want my mammogram benefits taken away,” Roberts joked to Talking Points Memo, a liberal website.

Breaking news, senator. Mammograms are pretty important for, uh, women (and sometimes men, too). And getting help paying for them is equally important.

Roberts seemed to realize his foot-in-mouth problem later in the day, apologizing for the comment. “I know several individuals whose lives have been saved by mammograms,” he said.

If it were an isolated incident, we could let it slide. Earlier this year, though, Roberts suggested a colleague should take an antidepressant before a Senate hearing.

An angry exchange ensued.

It’s an old newsroom adage: Three of anything is a trend. Roberts is now one stumble away from becoming front-page news across the nation.

The state’s senior senator has always fancied himself a bit of a wit. Today, I offer some advice: Think before you crack wise. You ain’t as funny as you think.

Dave Helling, dhelling@kcstar.com

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