House Leader Tells Off-Color China Joke

Rogers quotes China's ambassador's broken English.

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Who hasn't told a Charlie Chan broken English joke once or twice? But when a leading House member tells one in public, it can get quite a reaction.

That happened Wednesday night at Mt. Vernon where House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers was receiving an award from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States for "his extraordinary service to and leadership of his state and country."

The folksy Kentucky lawmaker opened with a tale about how people pronounce the home city of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville. "There's a lot of debate on how you pronounce, how locals pronounce the biggest city in Kentucky. Some say Louie-ville. Some say Louis-ville, some say Loy-ville, some say Loueee-ville," he said. [Read about a Congressional bill aimed at making China raise the value of its currency.]

Well one different version, Rogers told the crowd, came years ago from a Chinese ambassador to the United States who spoke broken English. As Rogers tells it, he had just visited China and when he returned he had dinner with the unnamed ambassador. During dinner, and in his broken English, the ambassador tried to impress staffers on how much he knew about the United States and Kentucky. [Read how the debt downgrade affected U.S.-China relations.]

"He had been to the Kentucky Derby and he said, 'you know, the Kentucky Derby, this and that, is located in a city and you need to know how to pronounce the name of.' He said, 'it's not Rouee-ville, it's Roo-i-ville."

Listen to it here.

Our pal Nikki Schwab, at the Washington Examiner, said she tried to chase Rogers down for a quick comment, but he had left the dinner.