Q: There are some good clips of you on YouTubedo you ever watch yourself in action?
A: I've watched myself on YouTube in the Funniest Celebrity in Washington contest in 2007. That's the one place I do watch myself. I was surprised that it was recorded, because I told some lewd stories. Talk radio in Philadelphia played the entire thing, and I thought the off-color humor would have damaged my reputation, but I found that it improved it!
Q: What was the joke that got them?
A: I told a joke about me overhearing Senator Biden, Senator Obama, and Senator Clinton arguing over who was going to be the Democratic nominee for primary season. Biden said, "I had a dream last night. The Lord came to me and said, 'Senator Biden'"even the Lord calls him Senator"'I hereby designate you as the Democratic nominee for the president of the United States.'" Senator Obama says, "Last night I had a dream and the Lord came to me and said, 'Barack, I not only designate you nominee but the next president of the United States.'" And Senator Clinton looked very self-assured, as she always does, and said, "Listen, guys, I had a dream last night myselfand I didn't say anything to either of you!"
Q: I was watching you remind Gonzales that habeas corpus is actually in our constitution somewhere
A: It's not that he hasnít read itit's that he can't read. Was that too strident?
Q: You wrote that after you started chemo for Hodgkin's, you looked at yourself in the mirror and felt as if you were the victim of identity theft.
A: True. We were legislating on identity theft at the time. The chemo had taken all my hair, drained all the color out of my face, made me look like a scarecrow. And here I was appearing on television almost every day at the Roberts hearings. I looked at myself and I said, "Who is that unmasked man? Not the Lone Ranger."
Q: You've worked closely with brash types like Rahm EmmanuelObama joked that when Emmanuel lost half of his middle finger it "rendered him practically mute." Is flipping the bird your style?
A: No. The same Philadelphia lawyer taught me "Never let your face show how hard your ass is being kicked," and use of the middle finger would violate that precept. He also gave me one more: "The higher the monkey climbs the flagpole, the more his ass is visible."
Q: At one point, you had to remind President Bush that he was not the "sole decider," that decision-making is a "shared and joint responsibility." Were you surprised that it had to come to that?
A: From 9/11 to the end of the Bush administration, we've seen the greatest expansion of executive authority in the history of the country, and I have spoken out against it. There was nothing personal. Bush was exercising what he thought his constitutional authority was under Article II, and I was raising hell with it. And I had to do it again this morning.