The cardinal serves as West Virginia's state bird, but it's not the bird the state's known for â€” that would be Byrd, Robert C. Byrd to be exact. And the Mountain State's senior senator is affiliated more with pork than fowl.
Thanks in part to the 90-year-old senior senator, West Virginia takes the No. 4 spot when it comes to states that receive the most pork per capita. Between 1995 and 2006, Byrd single-handily brought in more than $1 billion in federal funds for projects in his state.
Now his name is all over West Virginia â€” literally. There's the Robert C. Byrd Bridge â€” which he likely sees as a bridge to somewhere. The Robert C. Byrd Courthouse, Robert C. Byrd statue and a Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Center at Marshall University all pay homage to Big Daddy.
"He's like pork emeritus. He's graduated to a point where we can't even talk about him in a normal way anymore. He's actually set the benchmark for the rest of congress in terms of irresponsible spending," said Citizens Against Government Waste media director Leslie Paige.
It seems Daddy brings home the bucks. When John Denver said "Take me home" to West Virginia, to see mountain mamas, did he also have pork on his mind?