Spread Debate Makes Debut on Capital Hill

For all of you debaters out there who were always told that reading fast was a useless skill, I’ve got some good news for you.

The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce committee, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, has been threatening to force the committee clerk to read the 900-plus page bill as a way to drag out the markup of the Democrats’ climate change legislation. Worried that this could jeopardize his goal of voting the bill out of committee before the Memorial Day break, Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman of California hired a speed reader, in case one was needed to publicly race through the massive bill.

Barton decided not to follow through on his threat — but he wanted to find out what a speed reader sounded like. He requested that one of the Republican amendments be read in full, and asked that the new hire take over for the full time committee clerk. Waxman obliged, and Douglas Wilder sat before the committee and began reading rapidly. He spoke so quickly it was impossible to decipher his words, as listeners began to laugh and applaud.

Here’s the video via TPM:

Joe Barton, you just got spread. Though as any debater can tell you, Mr Wilder, wasn’t really going fast. Just ask these guys.

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