Hatch defends colorful comment with a lesson on Civil War jargon

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Story highlights

  • Hatch on failed Obamacare repeal: "As far as I'm concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that's the way it is"
  • As Hatch's comment began circulating on social media Monday, the Utah Republican shared a "valuable" lesson on Civil War jargon

Washington (CNN)It's a lesson for the social media history books.

Sen. Orrin Hatch offered a quick Civil War history lesson on Twitter Monday to provide context for a colorful comment the Utah Republican made about how members of his party "shot their wad" on their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In an interview with POLITICO, Hatch, who chairs the tax-writing Senate finance committee, expressed frustration over the limited time available for tax reform, saying his GOP colleagues needed to move on from health care.
    "We're not going back to health care. We're in tax now. As far as I'm concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that's the way it is. I'm sick of it," Hatch said.
    As Hatch's comment began circulating on social media Monday, the senator shared a "valuable" lesson on Civil War jargon.
    His office tweeted a link to the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of the expression, explaining that it refers to a "a plug of tow, cloth, etc., a disk of felt or cardboard, to retain the powder and shot in position in charging a gun or cartridge."
    Hatch later clarified his remarks with "helpful additional context," sharing a tweet from his communications director Matt Whitlock, who explained that this turn of phrase "was used quite often during the Civil War when Hatch was just a young Senator."
    The Republican lawmaker eventually admitted that he had been "caught" after someone tweeted at him: "No one alive today was alive during the civil war. How are you in office?!"
    This is not the first time that Hatch has invoked historical events to poke fun at himself on social media. In a Twitter exchange with Sen. Ben Sasse last month, Hatch responded to Sasse's dig at his age: "The vote-a-rama we had on the Treaty of Paris was quite the hootenanny."