Dana Milbank Live: The GOP demands chimichanga tweet apology. Should they get it?

Feb 17, 2012

Only a Dana Milbank column can cause the GOP to demand an apology over a tweet about chimichangas.

Was the tweet inappropriate? Should Obama's campaign manager apologize?

Read about why Republicans want Obama's campaign manager to apologize after tweeting a line from one of his columns, then tell Dana if you think the tweet was inappropriate or not.

Dana Milbank Live is your weekly opportunity for a give and take with Dana centering on the latest political news in Washington and his recent columns.

Good afternoon. My reference to the lowly chimichanga became quite a hot tamale this week after Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted it out and the RNC took umbrage.   I've written my Sunday column about the episode; it hopefully is being posted as I write this and the inimitable Haley Crum will link to it here.  Questions? Comments?  TexMex puns?

Dana, you must feel good about how your column has had an impact on the Washington discussion. Maybe the GOP is upset because they mistook the meaning of chimichanga....Not too many foodies on that side!

This did not occur to me.  So they thought a chimichanga was like a macaca and not a deep-fried burrito?   But there are definitely Republican foodies.  They may not be into the locally sourced and sustainable thing, and they may be more into lamb and foie gras, but they are out there.

Its pretty obvious that this is an attempt at point scoring, but its also pretty obvious there would be the same outrage if the situation was flipped, just with each side defending the other view. No one ever really gets offended anymore, and very few people in politics have morals or lines they won't cross with a statement. Its sad that we have devolved from a world of MTP to a world where everyone has to say the most offensive tweet they can to get publicity. I personally blame MSNBC/ FOX for their shameless chasing of ratings over real news.

I agree entirely with the exception of my own MSNBC appearances.  Those are as sober and reasoned as the Newshour.  Last night I broke up a fight between Al Sharpton and Michael Steele. (Reluctantly.)

Yes - I think an apology is in order - at least from Obama's manager on retweeting this insensitive and arrogant comment. If any GOP affiliate did this exact sequence - the response would be brutal from Dems and by now an apology would have been delivered. What is good for the goose is good for the gander - period!

Your comment is offensive to poultry everywhere. Please apologize for the insensitive way in which you stereotyped geese and gander.

The ugliness from the left-wing media recently -- like the trumped-up contraception nonsense and the racist Chimichanga slur -- makes me think you're more worried about Obama's re-election chances than you're letting on. If you were certain Obama would cakewalk to re-election, you wouldn't have to go this ugly this early, would you, Chimichanga Boy?

Somebody sounds like he just bit a jalapeno.  (I assume rants such as this are male in origin, and I pre-emptively apologize to women, and men, if that is offensive.)   You are making the common mistake of assuming I am motivated by ideology.  My ideological leanings are mild compared to my heavy bias in favor of a good story. Nothing would make me happier than a Rick Santorum presidency.   Romney-Obama is pretty much a wash; both boring, though perhaps I favor Romney slightly because of the potential for funny awkwardness.

Is he offering us Chimi-Hopa and Chimi-Changa now?


Deep fried burritos are bad for the Latinos' health. Maybe the GOP should have offered chicken soft tacos - hold the cheese and sour cream.

Yes, with whole grain tortillas.

Any new insight to the Chris Cillizza forthcoming book?

I'm hearing it's a cookbook.

From Senator Paul.

Certainly he should apologize to 99 senators for taking away from them a week of their lives.

Chris Christie?

You should apologize immediately.  The only acceptable fat jokes in this chat are about Newt.

No fowl language, please.

I'm very sorry.

Nonsense. We kill what we eat, and vice versa. Fresh meat is always better, and local means fresh.

Good point.   The Rs are also serving better red meat at the moment.

Pat had plenty of views i strongly disagree with but i always found him to be brilliant and intellectually honest. For shame, MSNBC.

I have enjoyed him since I danced with him in 1988 at a nightclub in Oxford, England.   I apologize to all of those this statement might offend for any number of reasons.

Was Darrell Issa going to call you as an additional male witness for the contraceptives hearing yesterday?

I told him I planned to take the fifth and he relented.


Hey, folks! Just a friendly reminder that if you submit a question/comment that amounts to nothing more than namecalling, trolling or personal attacks, then it will not be passed over to Dana to see or respond to. 

Thanks, and happy Friday!

Where did these things come from - chimichanga, chalupa, et al. Don't ever recall seeing them in real Mexican restaurants when I was a kid [Texas, '50s]. Is this more made up DC culture &*#(@ [dog exhaust] infecting our country? If so, where do you go for authenic anymore?

Yes, that's one of the points underlying this whole silly thing.  The chimichanga is an American invention. As McCain himself said, it was created in Arizona. TexMex is an entirely different category of food from Mexican.

Then there's the larger point, made as usual by the folks at Comedy Central:

"Never ever never reference a chimichanga — or, for that matter, any type of stuffed tortilla-based foodstuff — to a person of Latin American heritage. It's almost as bad as talking about a stromboli in front of an Italian. Or meatloaf in front of a WASP. (Actually, if I'm not mistaken, an ill-timed meatloaf quip was a contributing factor in the Protestant Reformation.)"


Let this be a lesson for Obama and the rest of the Democrats: if you repeat something Dana Milbank says, you're going to look stupid.

I think you are being too narrow.   Sen. Jeff Sessions, Arizona Republican, emailed to his press list my column on Obama's pathetic budget this week.  So presumably he now looks stupid too, not just Democrats. 

I could not stop laughing at your column about David Vitter, Virginia Foxx, et al, on birth control. Dana, you are the best!!!

I could just queso you.

It's: "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." No one anywhere cares about what's good for a goose. Thanks. Miss Cornelia Hush, Librarian

I am sure your name is not really Miss Cornelia Hush, Librarian.  But I hope it is.

On behalf of geese everywhere I am offended by your insensitivity and I would not even accept an apology if you proferred one.

Were they serving chimichangas at Issa's hearing yesterday?

If I get any more of these Issa contraception questions I'm going to have to take an aspirin.

Is Chimichanga so insulting? Isn't it like saying, "the candidate only has a donut to offer the American people"? Of, course, President Kennedy used a similar phrase in Germany, offering relations with the country by saying he was a jelly donut..... (Ich bin ein Berliner)....

I call on President Kennedy to apologize to the German people.

They're the usual American production of adding millions of calories to an already tasty dish by dunking it in hot oil. Like deep-fried Twinkies. Save the burrito from this abomination!

Your reference to deep-fried Twinkies is an offense to rednecks everywhere. 

Stupid, meaningless distraction from the real issue of why you in the media chose a Kenyan-born Muslim communist to be what used to be the leader of the free world.


Although on behalf of Kenyans I take offense at your trying to link Obama to them.  Kenyans do not wish to be blamed for Obamacare and 8.3% unemployment.

I'm now going to refer to Hispanics as "Chimichanga Eaters". It's not at all offensive, is it, Dana?

It is offensive to me because I am a Chimichanga Eater and have been since I was a boy.  In fact the vast majority of Chimichanga Eaters, I would submit, are non-Latinos going to faux TexMex restaurants somewhere in the suburbs, as I did on Long Island.  They are probably washing it down with one of those dreadful margaritas made from a mix. 

Seems like we have a bumper sticker in waiting.

I believe this has come up in an earlier chat, but my suggested form of birth control is to picture Rick Santorum in sweater vest with perspiration circles in his armpits. This is how I remember him from the campaign trail.

John Boehner was cooked sous vide?

Sous Vide!  I get the sense there are serious foodies online today.

So if I refer to a WASP in terms of hamburger hot dish and marshmallow-covered gelatin salad I will give offense?

I cringed at your insensitivity.  The only thing worse would be to invoke tuna casserole. 

For the record, Republicans also have the Philly cheesesteaks to offer, since three of the Republican candidates have Pennsylvania connections. Although, since Gingrich left the Harrisburg area for Georgia, and Ron Paul left the Pittsburgh area for Texas. and Santorum now lives and claims to be a Virginia resident, maybe I should take that back.

Was recently in Philly on a cheesesteak pilgrimage, and based on all the sex shops selling contraceptives near Jim's on South Street I'm thinking this was not a Republican crowd.

Have you ever tried a martini at the Heart Attack Cafe, where, as you probably heard, someone finally had a heart attack. You know, maybe this is how we should choose our leaders. They eat good American food like cheeseburgers, bacon, non-fat soda. butterfat milkshakes, and unfiltered cigarettes at the Heart Attack Cafe, and the last one standing (or sitting but not collapsed on the floor) wins.

Hopefully I said margarita, not martini, but at any rate I have not sampled the above-mentioned drink, though I endorse your plan for selecting our leaders.  I'm partial to a martini made from Bluecoat Gin, which like the cheesesteak is from Philadelphia.


They would lose my vote if they skimped on the dairy.

I apologize.  I should have realized that people in Wisconsin and Vermont would take offense.  My insensitivity knows no bounds.

The same people who go around calling the president a Marxist, Socialist, Kenyan, Muslim who wants to destroy the country, are really offended by a snarkster's comment about a chimichanga? Really? Thin skinned much? (Or is that an offensive term?)

As a person of pale skin whose capillaries sometimes show through, I demand your resignation. From whatever it is you do.

 You might find this interesting. It's an interview about the chimichanga stuff with Gustavo Arellano, the editor of the OC Weekly and author of the book, "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America."

I think that's the same site where there was a post demanding I apologize.   But I appreciate the support.

Newt likes fine dining.

I'm with you on that whole sentence except for the "fine" part.

"The fried chicken and watermelon? That may be all that Obama has left to offer blacks." Wait... you find that racist, Chimichanga Boy? Explain why.

I think you are the crazy person Haley Crum was referring to.    When the Senate is debating an African American nominee to the appeals court and a Democratic senator gets up and starts talking about fried chicken and watermelon, come talk to me.  Until that happens, stick an enchilada in it.


Shouldn't you be swilling Victory Gin?

This is offensive to people with taste buds everywhere.   I also like Magellan Gin, and Watershed (made right near here in Virginia) and Hendrick's and Plymouth are reliable as standbys.

Anyone believing there was *any* offense with your use of chimichanga as an illustration of clueless republicans must either not have read your column or are illiterate. Therefore, allowing them to expose their ignorance is a cheap shot, and an insult to illiterates everywhere!

I repeat my demands for an apology.  You can send it my way on Twitter: @milbank.

Well, I think we've burritoed in about as far as we can on this.   Taco for chatting, and let's do it again next week.


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Dana Milbank
Dana Milbank reviews the political theater of the nation's capital in his editorial-page column. His most recent book is "Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America;" his other books are "Homo Politicus" (Doubleday, 2008) and "Smashmouth" (Basic Books, 2001). Milbank joined The Post as a political reporter in 2000 and wrote the "Washington Sketch" column for nearly six years. He lives in Washington with his wife and daughter. • Dana Milbank Bio & Archive
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