If you take a federal-law class at University of Texas Austin, you might not learn anything about Title 18 of Section 871 in the United States Code. This is because Title 18 of Section 871 is the law against making violent threats against the President, and it's a class D felony that carries a maximum prison term of five or more years. Had College Republicans president Lauren Pierce known this, it's unlikely that at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, she would've Tweeted a joke about assassinating President Obama, writing, "Y'all as tempting as it may be, don't shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we've EVER had! #2012." 

Considering the tweet came mere hours after police apprehended a suspect for the White House shooting incident, it's not all that surprising that ABC News picked up the story and spoke with Pierce, who told them the comment was a "joke" and that the "whole [shooting incident] was stupid." She then removed the post from Twitter and posted an apology, writing, "I apologize for my previous tweet. It was in poor taste and and [sic] should never have been written." If nothing else, clearly Pierce paid attention during her public-relations classes, as "repeating conjunctions to sound more contrite" is the first lesson in the textbook on how to deliver a convincing apology. 

Commentarium (32 Comments)

Nov 16 11 - 10:40pm
Dave in SD

Republicans are so stupid. So long as we avoid WW III, George W Bush has an airtight lock on worst president in history.

Nov 16 11 - 10:47pm


Nov 16 11 - 11:17pm

They're both as bad as one another.

Nov 16 11 - 11:29pm
false equivalencies

The conservatrolls love us, long time.

Nov 17 11 - 12:22pm

Good show sir, extremely well played. Ah Conservatrolles.

Nov 17 11 - 1:44pm

Why don't you Republican haterz go back to smoking weed and doing nothing

Nov 18 11 - 1:47pm

It's almost impossible to tell wether you are talking about Republicans or those who hate them because Republicans are so well known for being "haterz".

Nov 16 11 - 10:52pm

Minor coorection: It's Section 871 of Title 18, not the other way around. Title 18 is where most of the federal criminal laws are located.

Nov 17 11 - 11:21am

And a major correction: In no way does what was tweeted qualify as a threat under the statute.

Nov 17 11 - 12:38pm

Yeah, telling people not to shoot the president is not really an actionable threat.

Nov 17 11 - 7:37pm

Despite prefixing the statement with "tempting as it may be"? Fess up, it was a stupid tweet.

Nov 16 11 - 10:58pm
Worst president...

Bush's main interest was dismantling our country to sell off for parts to corporations, in essence making America the target of the neocolonialist pillaging that we've typically reserved for Central and South America (as well, he definitely continued in the original tradition with USAID), but he had this smear of legitimacy to him. Like, at least he was trying to look good. And you know maybe part of him had bought into all those IR courses he took at Yale, and really believed that the best interest of the country was entirely equal to the best financial interests of the multinationals which called it home. In which case part of what he was doing wasn't entirely self-interested (just misguided).

But Nixon... boy that guy was a mess. I mean Reagan was wrong. Incredibly wrong. Evil? Maybe not, maybe just misguided. Like Bush, his policies smothered the poor because of the realities of Oligopoly and Market Failure (and a dozen other reasons). But relative to Nixon... they were good at what they chose to do.

Like, if by worst ever, we mean most incompetent within the last century (so we don't have to bring Harding into this fight, and because honestly I don't know that much about 19th century and 18th century president's full careers outside of a few highlights.), just plain old sloppy, just a greasy mess. Nixon wins. By far. Even if Watergate never happened.

Nov 17 11 - 1:07am

Nixon was a crook but he didn't destroy the economy (though his wage and price controls did tee things up pretty badly once the Arab oil embargo hit). On the war front, he was probably about as bad as Bush. Both are war criminals (Bush for authorizing torture and Nixon for invading and bombing a neutral country, Cambodia). But Nixon created the EPA, he worked with a Democratic Congress,opened relations with China and got the nuclear arms limitation treaty with the Soviets. He'd never get the Republican nomination today because he'd be viewed as way too liberal. It is too soon to tell, but I think there is a really good argument that Bush II was the worst president ever in terms of the damage he did to the United States both domestically and in foreign relations. Other than Nixon, the other candidates for Worst President only screwed up domestically (unless you want to blame Harding for the isolationism that helped doom the League of Nations).

Also, another mnor note: Harding was President from 1921 to his death in 1923, so he served in the past 100 years.

Nov 17 11 - 11:22am

Jimmy Carter, hands down. Lyndon Johnson as runner up.

Nov 17 11 - 12:07pm
John Son

You are so cute.

Nov 16 11 - 11:35pm

Young Texas Republicans. It doesn't get any worse.

Nov 16 11 - 11:45pm

Um, yeah, sorry , Bush II was terrible but Nixon was incomparably worse.

Nov 17 11 - 3:12am

Nixon wasn't a bad president (ugly attitude no doubt, hateful maybe). In fact, there has been a resurgence in proving that Nixon was the "last liberal progressive president" Do some reading.

Nov 17 11 - 5:35am
teabager=newneo con

ggg, I usually disagree with you, but there is some merit in what you write, Nixon wasn't all bad.
My worst president evah goes to Baby Bush. His administration has destroyed this country, and it is an ongoing process.

Nov 17 11 - 1:16pm

Nixon sold out the office of the Presidency numerous times. He took a $1 million payment from the Milk Council to eliminate price restrictions on milk, for one of many examples. He was also a very paranoid drunk and resigned the office rather then stand trial for election fraud, the preferred crime of Republicans to this day. Yes, Nixon was bad.

Nov 17 11 - 5:16am

In the past century, perhaps I would go with Bush. It's hard to judge because there's still so little distance there, but yeah, two wars, a broken economy, it does not look great for Dubya.

In history? Johnson by a country mile. If it wasn't for the ridiculous fumbling of Reconstruction, there is a good chance a thing like Bush would never have happened.

Nov 17 11 - 1:12pm

You could make a case for Lincoln, for not letting the south out of the union - that would have made an interesting world, and we would be rid of Texas.
Otherwise though, Johnson.

Nov 18 11 - 6:44pm

It's hard to know if the world would have been better or worse with a divided USA. It certainly would have continued slavery at least for a while longer, so I can't say I'm ready to call it a bad move.

Nov 17 11 - 8:54am
Mr. Reality

Hi! It's your old friend Reality, reminding ssdfd and Obushma that Bush and Obama are not actually the same person.
Bush: bin Laden & Qadaffi still alive. Obama: bin Laden & Qadaffi not alive.
Bush: Doing nothing about health care. Obama: Imperfect but significant progress.
Bush: Putting troops into Iraq. Obama: Bringing troops home from Iraq.
Bush: Gay soldiers stuck in the closet! Obama: Signed DADT repeal.
See? Not the same person!

Nov 17 11 - 11:24am

Mr Reality: The pharmacutical plan isn't exactly "nothing."
Clinton implemented DADT.

Nov 17 11 - 11:37am

Clinton accepted DADT from Congress as a compromise.

Nov 17 11 - 11:03am

For worst presidebt in history, Pierce, Buchanan, Coolidge, and Hoover are all candidates

Nov 17 11 - 12:28pm

What an idiot. Even I as a raging socialist liberal wouldn't say something like that about W. It's still the office of the President of the United States, and unfortunately he has to be afforded the respect of having held said office.

(I realize that I just made an anarchist foam at the mouth somewhere. Chill dude, I'm sure there's gonna be a chance for molotov cocktails any day now.)

If we're fighting to change this country, we are patriots. You know what they say about dissent and patriotism.

Nov 17 11 - 1:12pm

Common sense and ethical behavior are not allowed in Republican organizations.

Nov 17 11 - 4:21pm

Whoever is currently serving is the worst ever.

Nov 17 11 - 8:55pm

If I wasn't a Republican I'd be able to remember who that was.