Rep. Eric Swalwell's advice to Republicans to awake from their "wet dream" of defunding Obamacare raised eyebrows Friday, creating national headlines and drawing a rebuke from his sharp-tongued predecessor.

Swalwell, D-Pleasanton, spoke on the House floor Friday morning against the temporary funding bill to keep the government running beyond the end of this month on the condition that funding for the Affordable Care Act is withdrawn. The so-called continuing resolution later passed on a 230-189 vote.

"I rise in strong opposition to this radical right-wing effort to walk our economy off of a cliff and cause a government shutdown," the freshman lawmaker said. "I invite my colleagues on the other side to wake up from this radical, ideological wet dream, and come back to reality."

To many in his 15th Congressional District, it might have sounded like something his predecessor -- the perennially quotable Pete Stark -- would have uttered.

Swalwell, a former Alameda County prosecutor, unseated Stark last November.

"I hope I'd have the good taste in all my outbursts not to say something like that, but I guess it gives you the measure of the man," Stark, a liberal Democrat who served in Congress for 40 years, said Friday.

Though he acknowledged unleashing some corkers over the years, Stark said "it takes people a while to get some experience and to gain maturity. I was criticized for having too much maturity, but with maturity comes experience and even some dignity."


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In 2003, Stark called a GOP congressman a "little fruitcake." And, in his own bodily fluid reference, when a constituent asked Stark in 2009 not to "pee on my leg and tell me it's raining," Stark replied that he wouldn't waste the urine.

Swalwell was flying back to the Bay Area on Friday afternoon and couldn't be reached for comment.

The Hill newspaper noted its search of the Congressional Record dating back to 1989 doesn't show that any other member has used that particular turn of phrase on the House floor. The Washington Post called it "an R-rated term" but noted that a senator had used it in 1996, albeit not as an insult. Huffington Post political writer Jason Linkins called it much ado about nothing.

Perhaps Swalwell will hear about it from constituents during his third "Ride With Your Rep" event Saturday morning. District residents are welcome to join him at 10 a.m. at the Alameda Creek Regional Trail staging area, near Union City Boulevard and Lowry Road in Union City, for a 45-minute bike ride and chat.

Josh Richman covers politics. Contact him at 510-208-6428. Follow him at Twitter.com/josh_richman. Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics.