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John Glenn vs. Howard Metzenbaum
Netlore Archive:  Responding to a remark allegedly made by opponent Howard Metzenbaum to the effect that he had 'never held a job,' Ohio Senatorial candidate John Glenn lashes back by citing 23 years service to his country in the Marine Corps

Description:  Email Flier
Circulating since:  June 2001
Status:  Mostly true
Analysis:  See below
 


Variant #1:
Email example contributed by "PACFAC," 5 June 2001:

Subject: Great answer by Senator Glenn

Ladies and gentlemen,

Here's a small indication of what the military person runs up against in the beltway of our capital. No wonder we have so many problems in Washington....

Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but its also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and women in the uniformed services do what they do for a living. An example of what those who have never served think of the Military.

Sen. Metzenbaum to Sen. Glenn: "How can you run for Senate when you have never held a real job?"

Sen. Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by antiaircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine to five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.

I ask you to go with me....as I went the other day to a Veterans hospital and look at those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job. You go with me to the space program and go as I have gone to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their dad didn't hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day, coming up, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I'd like to remember and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn't have a job, I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men - SOME MEN - who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose, a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self sacrifice is what made this country possible..... I HAVE HELD A JOB, HOWARD! What about you?"




Variant #2:
Email example contributed by Paul F., 26 July 2004:

There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq during the month of January...In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January that's just one American city, about as deadly as the entire war torn country of Iraq.

When some claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war, state the following

FDR...led us into World War II. Germany never attacked us: Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost an average of 112,500 per year.

Truman... finished that war and started one in Korea, North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost an average of 18,334 per year.

John F. Kennedy... started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us.

Johnson... turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost an average of 5,800 per year.

Clinton... went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent, Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

In the two years since terrorists attacked us President Bush has... liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking, but...It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51 day operation.

We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB!

The Military morale is high!

The biased media hopes we are too ignorant to realize the facts.

Wait, there's more.......................

JOHN GLENN ON THE SENATE FLOOR

Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 11:13:37 -0800

Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living. This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.

Senator Metzenbaum to Senator Glenn: "How can you run for Senate when you've never held a real job?"

Senator Glenn: "I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank. I ask you to go with me ... as I went the other day... to a veteran's hospital and look those men - with their mangled bodies - in the eye, and tell THEM they didn't hold a job! You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee... and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their DADS didn't hold a job. You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I'd like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell ME that those people didn't have a job? I'll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum; you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men - SOME MEN - who held REAL jobs. And they required a dedication to a purpose - and a love of country and a dedication to duty - that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible. I HAVE held a job, Howard! What about you?"

For those who don't remember - During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist Party in the USA.

Now he is a Senator! If you can read this, thank a teacher.... If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran


Comments:  Although by some accounts Howard Metzenbaum did not at any time accuse John Glenn of literally never holding a job, an exchange similar to above did take place over a period of days during the 1974 Ohio primary election in which Glenn battled Metzenbaum for the Democratic nomination for U.S. senator.

Metzenbaum, whose strategy throughout the campaign included questioning Glenn's civilian leadership experience, apparently remarked during a speech that the career Marine and former astronaut had "never met a payroll," or words to that effect. Somehow this morphed into "never held a job" in the press coverage of the campaign (and continues to be reported that way to this day), and Glenn took the straw man and ran with it in a May 3, 1974 debate with Metzenbaum at the Cleveland City Club.

Here, according to political columnist Mark Shields, is what Glenn actually said in that debate (other accounts differ only slightly):

I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I was through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions.

I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook. It was my life that was on the line. This was not a 9-to-5 job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank. I ask you to go with me . . . as I went the other day to a Veterans Hospital and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job. You go with me to any Gold Star mother, and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.

You go with me to the space program, and you go as I have gone to the widows and the orphans of Ed White and Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their dad didn't hold a job.

You go with me on Memorial Day coming up, and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery - where I have more friends than I like to remember - and you watch those waving flags, and you stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn't have a job.

I tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men - some men - who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what has made this country possible.... I have held a job, Howard.

"What followed from the City Club crowd was a standing ovation that lasted 22 seconds," wrote Shields in appreciation of the event many years later. Glenn beat Metzenbaum in the primary and went on to defeat the Republican nominee and win a seat in the U.S. senate.

The text in the 2004 variant criticizing Democrats for not supporting President Bush's Iraq War was appended several years after this email flier began circulating and has nothing to do with John Glenn's 1974 remarks.

As to the charge, also appended in a later variant, that Howard Metzenbaum worked as an attorney for the Communist Party during World War II, I have found no evidence so far to substantiate it.


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Sources and further reading:

Diemer, Tom. "Glenn to Make Farewell Speech at City Club." Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. 20 June 1998.

Hallet, Joe. "John Glenn Returns to an Old Political Battleground." Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. 18 December 1998.

Hershey, William. "Sen. John Glenn Closes Chapter in Career Crowded with Achievements, Trials." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service. 21 Feb. 1997

Shields, Mark. "There Was a Time I Was Sure John Glenn Would Be President." Creators Syndicate Inc. 24 Feb. 2997.


Last updated: 03/10/05


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