I believe you are remembering a quote which said that John Glenn had
"never met a payroll," or "never held a job." This quote, which has
appeared in numerous emails and websites, is attributed to Howard
Although many online sources state that Metzenbaum asked Glenn how he
could run for Senate when he'd "never held a job", the actual wording
of Metzenbaum's remark was "never met a payroll." Glenn made a
passionate speech in defense of his work history during a debate,
although Metzenbaum did not bring up the issue during the debate.
"Some people still don't understand why military personnel do what
they do for a living. The following exchange between Senator John
Glenn (D -OH) and Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D - OH) is worth reading.
Not only is it a pretty impressive and (by all appearances) impromptu
speech, but it's also a good example of one man's explanation of why
men and women in the Armed Services do what they do for a living. The
date of the exchange is May 3rd, 1974 during the Democratic primary
for the US Senate in a debate at the Cleveland City Club. The speech
became known as Glenn's 'Gold Star Mother Speech'.
Senator Metzenbaum insinuated earlier in the campaign that Senator
Glenn had never held a 'real job'."
Bourne Republican Town Committee
"Glenn: 'I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps. I was
through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by
anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions.
'I was in the space program. It wasn't my checkbook, it was my life
that was on the line. This was not a 9-to-5 job where I took time off
to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.
'I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day to a Veterans
Hospital, and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and
tell them they didn't hold a job... I HAVE HELD A JOB, HOWARD!"
"Metzenbaum... charged that 'Colonel Glenn' had never 'met a payroll,'
implying that Glenn's background as a career military man meant he was
lacking in the real-world business experience a U.S. Senator should
possess... Metzenbaum's comment was widely publicized and interpreted
by many - including Glenn himself - as a slam that Glenn had 'never
held a (real) job' (even though Metzenbaum hadn't actually used those
words), and Glenn went into the Cleveland debate a few days later
well-prepared to answer the charges. Although Metzenbaum didn't raise
the 'job' issue during the debate, Glenn nonetheless seized the
opportunity to launch into his carefully-crafted 'I have held a job'
retort, invoking stirring images of motherhood, sacrifice, and
patriotism. Although it was a rehearsed speech rather than the
impromptu response legend has since made it out to be, Glenn's
stinging rebuke to Metzenbaum was a masterful stroke that swung
momentum in his favor."
Snopes Urban Legends Reference Pages
My Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "john glenn" "howard metzenbaum" "held a job"
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