Nina Totenberg: ‘I Was At – Forgive the Expression – a Christmas Party...’

“I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party,” NPR reporter Nina Totenberg interjected on Inside Washington in the weekend’s oddest cautionary separation from a common description for a common event, seemingly embarrassed to invoke any religious terminology for Christmas. She didn’t say what she’d prefer for parties this time of the year to be named. “Winter solstice party”? Just plain old “holiday party”? Or a “seasonal gathering”?

Totenberg’s bashfulness came as she explained how the failure of Congress to pass an annual budget has left federal workers in limbo:

Well, these agencies, including the Defense Department, don't know how much money they've got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this.

So, what did Totenberg mean by “forgive the expression”? Watch and judge for yourself. (Audio: MP3 clip)


Totenberg’s comment in full, which matches the video clip:

I want to say one thing about the budget that didn’t get passed, the omnibus bill. You know, we talk a lot about – we just passed this huge tax cut in part because business said, you know, we have to plan, we have to know what kind of tax cuts we have. Well, these agencies, including the Defense Department, don't know how much money they've got and for what. And I was at – forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice and people actually were really worried about this. These are law enforcement people don't know exactly what kind of money they can spend for what.

(Inside Washington is a weekly show produced by ABC’s Washington, DC affiliate, which airs it Sunday morning after it runs Friday night on DC’s PBS affiliate, WETA-TV channel 26, and Saturday on local cable’s TBD TV.)

— Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center