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Archive for Monday, August 20, 2012

Rep. Yoder apologizes for nude Sea of Galilee swim

August 20, 2012, 9:18 a.m. Updated August 20, 2012, 1:51 p.m.

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U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder

— A Republican congressman representing Kansas has apologized for embarrassing his supporters by swimming naked at the holy site of the Sea of Galilee while on a fact-finding mission to Israel.

Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, 36, has not been charged in the Aug. 18, 2011, incident in which he and about 20 other lawmakers and staff members jumped into the water. POLITICO reported Sunday that he was the only one among them who wore no clothes.

"It's an embarrassing situation, and I regret it," Yoder said during an interview on public radio station KCUR-FM in Kansas City, Mo. "I know that many constituents out there are sort of scratching their heads, saying, 'What is this guy up to? What was he doing? What was he thinking?'"

Yoder had been scheduled to participate Monday in a discussion on energy policy at an oil and natural gas industry convention in Wichita, but he did not attend. However, he did the radio interview at the station's studio, accompanied by his wife, Brooke.

Some Christians consider the Sea of Galilee a holy site because they believe Jesus walked on water there. Swimming in the lake is permitted but public nudity is not allowed, according to Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

"If someone walks around the beach naked, that's an offense," Rosenfeld said in Jerusalem. He said no official complaint had been made against Yoder, but it was possible he could still be charged even a year later.

"If that kind of incident takes place and someone makes an official compliant, we'll investigate," Rosenfeld said Monday.

Kansas Democratic Party Chairwoman Joan Wagnon called Yoder's behavior "inexcusable" and said if the incident had occurred in Kansas, he would be forced to resign. She later issued a statement calling for him to step down.

"I'm astonished these people think they can go on these junkets like this and no one will know what they do," Wagnon said.

The Aug. 13-21 trip was sponsored by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charity whose mission is to provide grants for educational programs and conferences, and to educate politicians and influential people about the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship.

"At the time, it seemed very spontaneous," Yoder said. "Somewhat afterwards, maybe the next day, I started thinking that maybe that wasn't the smartest decision."

Yoder said it was dark and he was in the water for only about 10 seconds. He said his wife was with him but did not go into the water. He said members of the party jumped in individually, not as a group, and not everyone did.

"I jumped in, was in for 10 seconds, jumped back out," Yoder said during his radio interview. "Just in and out — just to have the experience, really."

Yoder acknowledged that he and his wife had wine with dinner before the incident but added, "Alcohol really played no role in the decision to go in. It was really a spontaneous moment with members at the Sea of Galilee, which is obviously a special place."

Yoder said in his radio interview that Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the senior Republican on the trip, was "very frustrated and upset" over the swimming and scolded delegates for their behavior.

Yoder's sole opponent in the upcoming general election is Libertarian Joel Balam, of Overland Park. Yoder served in the Kansas House from 2003 through 2010 and was chairman of its Appropriations Committee. He also is a former University of Kansas student body president.

In February 2009, Yoder, then the Appropriations Committee chairman, was cited by the Kansas Highway Patrol for speeding and refusing to take a breath-alcohol test following an early-morning traffic stop on a state highway in the Lawrence area. He later pleaded guilty to refusing to take the test and paid a $90 fine.

The traffic stop briefly caused ruffles during his successful 2010 run for Congress, but Yoder's campaign said he'd refused to take the breath test because he'd passed another field sobriety test and wasn't driving under the influence.

Wagnon promised that Democrats would field a strong candidate against Yoder in 2014 and would remind voters of the incident.

"I'm just sorry I don't have anyone running against him, and it isn't for lack of trying," Wagnon said.


Associated Press writers Blake Sobczak in Jerusalem and Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kan., contributed to this report.

Comments

turn12358 1 year, 7 months ago

Wow. The sotted fool went into the Sea of Galiliee, balls out for all to see within peeking distance, and his best explanation is "Just in and out. . .just to have the experience, really". And that helps 10 second man's case how? The over-aged frat boy just made it sound worse by making it sound like he was having sex with the sea when he should have been setting a good example overseas. So unimpressive and immature. . .

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mikekt 1 year, 7 months ago

What did you expect...... A).....a sane republican party member ? or......B)....a sane republican party member ?

What is it that most people who vote for these jokers don't understand about them ?

Ha, Ha.!

The next preppy joke on the public, by a party that has nothing but private contempt, for their public trust !

As if the party leadership didn't know about this event, before it hit the press ? Right;...because there was nobody around to see this,....right ?

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secrettoalonglife 1 year, 7 months ago

"I jumped in, was in for 10 seconds, jumped back out," Yoder said during his radio interview. "Just in and out — just to have the experience, really."

Yoder acknowledged that he and his wife had wine with dinner before the incident but added, "Alcohol really played no role in the decision to go in. I remember saying that to the officer.... In February 2009, Yoder, then the Appropriations Committee chairman, was cited by the Kansas Highway Patrol for speeding and refusing to take a breath-alcohol test following an early-morning traffic stop on a state highway in the Lawrence area. He later pleaded guilty to refusing to take the test and paid a $90 fine.

The traffic stop briefly caused ruffles during his successful 2010 run for Congress, but Yoder's campaign said he'd refused to take the breath test because he'd passed another field sobriety test and wasn't driving under the influence. I must have been driving much faster...90 bucks with no DUI?

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Newell_Post 1 year, 7 months ago

Everybody write in The Tan Man. Even the Tan Man keeps his shorts on when the ladies are around.

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patkindle 1 year, 7 months ago

geez louise, count your blesssings, at least he didnt pull a Todd Akin

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blue73harley 1 year, 7 months ago

"Yes, I am very sure that if the story was about Nancy Pelosi stripping naked in front of Democratic families during a congressional trip you wouldn't even bother reading the story."

Bea, I really did not need that visual in my head!

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SynjynSmythe 1 year, 7 months ago

I applaud Yoder. If I was at the Sea, any Sea, with my wife and I was wearing a $2500 suit and $3000 alligator shoes, you bet I'd strip down to dive in!

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jayhawklawrence 1 year, 7 months ago

I guess you have to laugh at this one and if you were not completely brainwashed you would have to laugh at the absurdity of conservative politicians who spend so much time preaching moral arguments about the evils of our society while their real work is padding the pockets of rich constituents.

I guess I am curious why a visit to the holy land would inspire such carnality among our nation's best and brightest.

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pace 1 year, 7 months ago

He got drunk, he got naked, probably didn't mean to show his fruit to some young girls. His first response was, it was because of the sacred nature of the sea?

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Topple 1 year, 7 months ago

Wow. Who friggen cares? This is really making international news? Maybe the lesson here is people need to get over the naked body stigma. We could learn something from European countries who are much more open about sexuality. Something I would expect Liberals to be able to appreciate. But I forget, he's a Republican, which explains all the Liberals on here crying for his resignation, punishment, etc. etc. Just proves all they care about is that he's a Republican.

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jaywalker 1 year, 7 months ago

Doesn't matter which side of the aisle, this string further proves that it's never ok to let a non-story remain a mole hill. What a waste of bile.

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beatrice 1 year, 7 months ago

If someone had a cell-phone picture of this event, this representative would likely already be out of office.

Ya gotta love the "only 10 seconds" excuse, like that matters. Try that excuse on a judge some day. Besides, if you are tipsy and out partying, it is going to take more than 10 seconds to strip, dip, and dress.

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Steve Jacob 1 year, 7 months ago

I've said it before, and I will say it again, any knucklehead can win a congressional election. Look at Yoder, Todd Akin, Ron Paul, Paul Ryan, ect. Winning statewide elections is a whole different story.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 7 months ago

While Diana Nyad swims 90 miles from Florida to Cuba looking for Fidel Castro; Kevin Yoder swims nude 10 feet into the Sea of Galilee. Several possible explanations: (1) He was testing to see if his right-wing beliefs were strong enough to allow him , like Jesus, to walk on water, (2) Since Eric Cantor, a Jewish member of congress, and leader of the group wanted to see if Yoder was Christian or perhaps a candidate for conversion to Judism, (3) Yoder wanted to see if he could float, but later realized that was not Galilee but The Dead Sea instead, much to his embassasment, (4) Since he was voted one of the most "hot" members of Congress, he wanted to impress both members of Conress as well as their wives with his physic (5) wanted to see if he could repeat the story if by catchiing a few fish he could therefore convert them into masses enough to feed them all, (6) wanted something more sensational to deflect comments about his refusal to take a blood/breath test from a suspected DUI incident last year (7) Wanted to see how much loyalty his conservative constituents in Johnson County were willing to put up including his bigoted ways, (8) Since his original baptism did not take, he wanted a re-do!

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Fatty_McButterpants 1 year, 7 months ago

The next report will be of him peeing on a statue of the Buddha because no one appeared to be around, he really had to go, and it was only for about 10 seconds or so...

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RoeDapple 1 year, 7 months ago

Rumor has it he was born naked too! In front of nurses and everything!

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Richard Payton 1 year, 7 months ago

I got to vote for Yoder in the primary. I wonder if Clinton will endorse him while smoking a cigar.

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Newell_Post 1 year, 7 months ago

Excellent! Let's all vote for the Libertarian.

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LogicMan 1 year, 7 months ago

"Yoder is unopposed for re-election in Kansas' 3rd District."

Not even a single Democrat will run against him? That's impressive, or scary.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 7 months ago

He was probably 'choomed' out of his mind.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 7 months ago

Yoder has always seemed like a grade A-1 d-bag. I've heard so many things about him and not one of them good. This didn't surprise me in the least.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 7 months ago

Zzzzzzzzzz....nonissue. Move on.

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Clark Coan 1 year, 7 months ago

That reminds of when Billy Carter, Jimmy's wayward brother, urinated on the Wailing Wall. Billy's Beer! He was a registered foreign agent for the government of Libya.

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Agnostick 1 year, 7 months ago

Not sure this in itself is cause for resignation--but coupled with the speeding incident in 2009, there's the suggestion of a pattern of bad choices. Clearly something to watch closely in the weeks and months ahead.

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purplesage 1 year, 7 months ago

What juvinile behavior for a U.S. Congressman! The 10 second thing reminds me a bit of a student who tried pot but didn't inhale and later became President.

I have had several thoughts on this. One is what were they thinking - Yoder and the rest of the entourage? What is a U.S. fact finding delegation getting soused in Israel? Why is the FBI involved? Was this criminal or an immature, sophmoric lapse? And if it wasn't criminal, why is it being reported? Of course it has to include that he is a conservative, but isn't that a given being from Kansas?

I hear he is unopposed for reelection and of course, he is now recipient of all the benefits of serving in Congress. I don't like it - and I'm a conservative Republican.

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gccs14r 1 year, 7 months ago

So why is there no D on the ballot this time? Did his opponent end up in the 2nd with redistricting?

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CheneyHawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Why does Goerge Castanza come to mind from Seinfeld???? - "It's shrinkage. I was in the pool! I WAS IN THE POOL!

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toe 1 year, 7 months ago

Yoder is a complete loser. But, he is transparent.

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Centerville 1 year, 7 months ago

A tough one for the Boomers - since they spent a big part of their early adulthood doing this (thouth not in the Sea of Gaililee).

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

There are times for apologies and there are times for resignations. This is a time for the latter.

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dncinnanc 1 year, 7 months ago

The other missing point to this story is the timing of the debauchery.. This was right after the Tea Party nearly caused a global economic meltdown by even debating the debt ceiling, and also just after the US credit rating was downgraded by the S&P. Doesn't sound like an appropriate time for our reps in Congress to be living it up, does it?

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Lateralis 1 year, 7 months ago

I wonder what facts he found.

Here's some for you. US tax payer dollars to Israel

US aid to Israel.gif

US aid to Israel.gif

That alone would make me want to jump out of my clothes.

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autie 1 year, 7 months ago

It wasn't just Yoder. But he was the only reportedly gettin naked. A whole contingent of conservative Republican representatives...over in Israel showing the world about their so called "family values". Yee......Haw!!!! go merica...yeah, go broncos.

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oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 7 months ago

To paraphrase a line from Nunsense "what time to we pray? when the little hand is on Paul and the big hand is on Peter" so goes it with swimming.

The nuns had a clock with the 12 disciples on it and that's how they tell time.

Lawrence is so backwards. and further more who cares he went skinny dipping. Most congressman/reps local and national probably don't have the bodies. Imagine Barney Frank nude or even Biden?

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Ceallach 1 year, 7 months ago

It was definitely bad judgment on Yoder's part (not a trait we look for in our representatives). But, considering where most congressmen do their dipping -- the Sea of Galilee seems pretty tame.

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donttreadonme 1 year, 7 months ago

"biggunz11 minutes ago HA! Really? What would you call it if it's not liberal media? ..."

Then how did this story, involving all Republicans, stay quiet for a year? Don't waste our time with a talking point, where's the explanation?

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Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 7 months ago

Seems like Congress people from Kansas have serious drinking issues. My mother used to visit DC every so often, where she found that more times than not the KS Congressmen were drunk when they met with the Farm Bureau citizens. My sis, who worked in the Old Exec building for 8 years, also mentioned the liberal use of alcohol in our KS Congressmen.

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kufan1146 1 year, 7 months ago

I wouldn't care two ways if he had some drinks and went skinny dipping in a friend's backyard - in fact, that would be great, congressmen definitely need to lighten up, but since this was a business trip representing the US in another country at a holy site, it's a big deal.

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UNIKU 1 year, 7 months ago

If he did this in the Kaw would it have been a big deal -- why is it such a tragedy that he did it in Israel? Who cares?

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 7 months ago

"Human after all"?????? YOu got documentation on this?

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Machiavelli_mania 1 year, 7 months ago

Time for a new write in campaign. Dems, why have you got? I don't want to vote for this most-obvious clown who has clear drinking issues.

I cannot tolerate this kind of behavior from people who represent this state.

He probably pd in it as well.

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geekin_topekan 1 year, 7 months ago

Desecration of the holy by white people? Color me shocked!

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donttreadonme 1 year, 7 months ago

Why did it take the "liberal" media a year to get this story out?

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Thomas Bryce 1 year, 7 months ago

Brings a whole new meaning to the term "drunk with the Holy Spirit". He is human after all.

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SageonPage 1 year, 7 months ago

Really? No explanation, such as I wanted to swim but not get my clothes wet, or I did it on a dare, just I was only in 10 seconds like this helps at all. This will be fodder for political enemies for a long time for a silly mistake.

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