Congressman recalls drunken arm-wrestling match with Putin

September 13, 2013
(RIA Novsoti/Kremlin/Reuters)
(Ria Novsoti/Kremlin/Reuters)

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) says in a new interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the early 1990s, beat him in a drunken arm-wrestling match to decide who won the Cold War.

And no, that's not hyperbole.

Rohrabacher told KPCC-FM that Putin and two other Russian politicians were in Washington, D.C., and  Rohrabacher invited them to play touch football. They all wound up at a local bar — Kelly's Irish Times — afterward. But rather than summarize it all, we thought it best just to let Rohrabacher tell it:

"Come to find out later it was Putin. I didn’t know who he was then. He was deputy mayor of St. Peteresburg. That’s all we knew. But he did have a huge bodyguard, so that did sort of give us a little hint that he’s more important than just St. Petersburg. So we went out and played touch football. And Scooter Libby was one of the players, and a bunch of my right-wing friends were there. And so we all went over to this pub afterwards, the Irish Times pub.”

“We were having a little bit too much to drink, I guess. But anyways, we started arguing about who won the Cold War, etc. And so we decided to settle it like men do when they’ve had too much to drink in the pub. And so we got down to these arm wrestling matches. And I ended up being paired up with Putin. And he’s a little guy, but boy I tell you, he put me down in a millisecond. He is tough. … His muscles are just unbelievable.”

“He’s a tough guy, and he’s supposed to be a tough guy. That’s what the Russian people want. But that’s not a reason we shouldn’t try to work with him.”

 

PHOTOS: Putin's many feats of strength

 

 

 

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · September 13, 2013