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Low-wattage Walter Jones: 'Freedom Fries' was a dumb idea

Eastern North Carolina U.S. Rep. Walter Jones rues his coining of the term “Freedom Fries.”

So when exactly did the light bulb come on over this wingnut dunce’s head? The Guardian has a story on the Tar Heel knuckle-dragger’s second thoughts about his little wartime wordplay now that the war is dragging out and the bombs and body counts are rising.

It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of french fries to “freedom fries” has turned against the war.

Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind french toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war “with no justification”.

Mr Jones, who in March 2003 circulated a letter demanding that the three cafeterias in the House of Representatives’ office buildings ban the word french from menus, said it was meant as a “light-hearted gesture”. But the name change, still in force, made headlines around the world, both for what it said about US-French relations and its pettiness.

Now Mr Jones appears to agree. Asked by a reporter for the North Carolina News and Observer about the name-change campaign – an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God’s hand and a constituent’s request – he replied: “I wish it had never happened.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding