(AP) WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tom Coburn evoked a 1950s TV show Wednesday in a quip responding to Sonia Sotomayor's scenario about what he might do if she - hypothetically, of course - attacked him.
"You'll have a lot of 'splainin' to do," Coburn said, to laughter from the crowd and Sotomayor. What he said - and how he said it - was a riff on a Hispanic television character, Ricky Ricardo, whose accent is now widely considered a broad parody.
In the famous 1950s TV show "I Love Lucy," the Cuban bandleader Ricardo (played by the equally Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz) would often admonish his scatterbrained wife, Lucy, by saying she'd have some "'splainin'" to do. The phrase, "Lucy, you have some 'splainin' to do," has since become part of the popular culture.
Calling Coburn out for this might be going too far - those who know him say he often speaks like this - but it was hard not to notice his inflection and choice of words. At the very least, it suggests a tin ear - particularly when speaking to a woman who would become the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice.
Yvette Melendez, a Glastonbury, Conn., woman attending the hearing, said she winced inwardly when Coburn made his comment but did not feel offended.
"I personally did not think it was appropriate," she said. "But I'm sure he said it as a joke."