Not My Job: We Quiz Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse On Peaches
BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill. Thanks, everybody.
SAGAL: While we concentrate on meditation and healthy eating this week, we wanted to bring you some of our favorite bits from recent shows.
KURTIS: Last year, we were joined by Sen. Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska who had written a book about the trouble with kids these days.
SAGAL: First, I asked him about how he'd been handling the toddler in the Oval Office.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
SAGAL: You were known, during the campaign at least, as what they call a never Trumper. You were not particularly complimentary of your party's nominee. Did he ever - I know he did this to Senator Flake - did he ever come after you?
BEN SASSE: He's given me a nickname. He named me the Gym Rat about 15 months ago. And as the son of a Nebraska high school football and wrestling coach, frankly, Gym Rat is high praise where I'm coming from. So I'll take it.
SAGAL: Yeah, I was about to say that's really mild by his standards.
FAITH SALIE: Is there a Senate gym at which you work out?
SASSE: What happens in Senate fight club stays in Senate fight club.
JANELLE JAMES: Oh, my God.
SAGAL: When you - you're a runner. So am I. Do you run around the mall? Is that what you do?
SASSE: I do.
SAGAL: And do people recognize you?
SASSE: Listen. I'm 99th in seniority - or I think I'm recently 91st in seniority. And D.C. is known as Hollywood for ugly people. There's nobody tracking me.
SAGAL: So let's talk a little bit about your background. Unusually - well, it used to be unusual - your elected office is the one you're in now.
SASSE: That's correct. I think I'm one of five people in the Senate who's never been a politician before.
SAGAL: And now that you are a politician, what do you find weird about it?
SASSE: That I respect myself less.
SAGAL: I understand.
SAGAL: Terrible thing that you've come to. You grew up in Nebraska, as you write about in your book. You grew up the son of a public school teacher.
SAGAL: But you spent a lot of time working on farms and such.
SASSE: Yeah, Nebraska kids are almost all - you know, back in the '70s and '80s would be bussed out to farms on summer mornings to walk beans and detassel corn.
SAGAL: Yeah, detasseling corn. You know who else did that? Cindy Crawford the model did that.
SASSE: You know, she wasn't on my bus.
SAGAL: Do you find that this kind of upbringing has prepared you for life in the Senate?
SASSE: Can we talk more about Cindy Crawford for a minute?
SAGAL: You were a high school wrestler - right? - and were recruited by Harvard. Were you a good one? You must have been if you got recruited by colleges.
SASSE: I didn't go to Harvard because I thought they had good academics. I went because they had crappy enough sports so they'd let me play.
SAGAL: That's worked for so many of them. And we heard that you had a secret weapon in your wrestling career.
SASSE: I thought it was useful to head-butt people at the beginning of the match just to daze them a bit.
JAMES: Hell yeah.
SALIE: So you've always been a Republican.
SASSE: Tough but fair.
SAGAL: We also heard - this is true - that as part of your background you were driving an Uber for a while. Is that true?
SASSE: Yeah, I still drive Uber actually. I love to do work tours with Nebraskans. And it's a good way to meet people and to learn about the sharing economy of the future. But I wasn't trying to do it as a publicity stunt. And then after I'd been critical of the front-runners in both political parties through all of 2016, the Omaha World Herald, the big paper in the state, right after the election when Mr. Trump was the surprise victory they decided to do a story on my Uber driving. And they headlined it, "Senator Sasse Explores Fallback Career Option."
SAGAL: Were you - what kind of Uber driver were you? Were you the chatty kind or the kidnappy (ph) kind?
SASSE: You know, my Uber driver rating is 10,000. People tell me it's the best rating. It's fantastic, believe me.
SAGAL: Why, senator, you're sounding presidential. God help us all.
SAGAL: Well, Senator Sasse, it is a pleasure to have you with us. We've asked you here, though, to play a game we're calling...
KURTIS: You're a real peach.
SAGAL: Everybody else you're talking to this week wants to talk to you about whether you would impeach the president. But we are not everybody else. We're going to ask you about just plain old peaches.
SAGAL: You know, the fuzzy-skinned fruit. Answer two of these three questions about peaches correctly and you'll win a prize for one of our listeners. Bill, who is Senator Ben Sasse playing for?
KURTIS: Devin Matthews of Cincinnati, Ohio.
SAGAL: Are you ready to play, Senator?
SASSE: Devin and I are ready to roll.
SAGAL: Here's your first question. Peach flavoring has been used to make things more appealing as in which of these - A, an $8 Etsy, quote, "natural deodorant product" called the Peach Arm Pit, which is just a peach pit you rub in your armpits; B, a special air freshener which hides the scent of marijuana called the Peach and Chong...
SAGAL: Or C, it's used to improve the flavor of a Japanese beverage called Placenta 10,000?
SASSE: I actually think it's the deodorant, but I - because I had a bet earlier today that I needed to use the word placenta in public, I'm going to go with number three.
SAGAL: Oh, my God. You're right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Tell Senator Cruz he owes you $10.
SAGAL: All right, senator, here is your next question. Peaches is the name of one of the otters up the street - well, far up the street from you - at the National Zoo. The other otters are named Porkchop, Pickle, Saffron, Clementine, Olive, Turnip, Chowder, Radish and what - A, Quinoa; B, Hamburger; or C, Kevin?
SASSE: Oh, I'm going with Kevin.
SAGAL: You're right again.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The otter enclosure you see is funded by Whole Foods, which explains all the food names, but not Kevin.
SASSE: Otter naming is actually my spiritual gift.
SAGAL: Last question - one of the most famous peaches, of course, was the one in Roald Dahl's famous kid's book "James And The Giant Peach." But that book was once banned in Wisconsin. Why? A, certain pastors in town were concerned that the illustration of the peach on the cover was too suggestive of anatomy; B, lawmakers argued the magical delicious fruit was an attempt to sell kids on drugs; or C, the character Miss Spider, who is a spider, was deemed to have loose morals?
SASSE: Well, I think we've already won the prize with hitting two of the first two. You're right. So placenta got us close to the finish line, so I'm sticking with the anatomy option, A.
SAGAL: No, in this case you were wrong. It was actually Miss Spider. Miss Spider was seen as being too sexy for the good people of Wisconsin.
SASSE: Well, she's all legs.
SAGAL: That's true.
SAGAL: Bill, how did Senator Sasse do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Well, the senator was right, two out of three wins. Congratulations.
SAGAL: Ben Sasse is the junior senator from Nebraska. His new book is "The Vanishing American Adult." It's everywhere now. Senator Sasse, thank you so much for joining us.
SAGAL: Thank you. Take care.
(SOUNDBITE OF FRANKY 'FASTFINGERS' FLINT'S "FAME AND FORTUNE")
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