Former Representative Barney Frank is not known for saying polite things to make people feel better. He will not "pretend everything in wonderful" when it is not. He will cause a scene when Fire Island ferry employees refuse his senior discount. He will not indulge an inquiry into his emotional state after getting passed over for John Kerry's open Senate seat, instead retorting, "If I wanted to talk about feelings, I would have called Oprah."
Back in 1971, when the Harvard graduate served as the chief assistant to Boston Mayor Kevin White, the local weekly newspaper Boston After Dark—a/k/a B.A.D., which soon morphed into the Boston Phoenix, whose employees happen to be cleaning out the archives, where this artifact was found—did something apparently the administration did not like. So over the phone, Frank made an aside about blowing up the editor's car to a "friend," who made the aside public, so public the Mayor's acolyte was forced to acknowledge the comment.
But Frank's defense was hardly an apology:
STATEMENT FROM BARNEY FRANK
I am the associate of Mayor White who made the threats to blow up the car of B.A.D. editor Teddy Gross and the reference to reassessing B.A.D.'s building. I said this at the outset of a long phone call to a man I had considered a friend in what I had considered then and now to be an obviously humorous fashion. It is inconceivable to me that they were taken seriously. I have been granted by the editors space to explain this fully. I failed to complete my explanation before the deadline and so I have asked that this statement be printed to make clear that the threats of violence and reassessment so dramatically represented were clearly meant humorously, were made entirely on my initiative and resulted from a combination of my sense of humor and my deficiency as a judge of character. — Barney Frank
In other words: Frank's only regret was talking to a dipshit and this was so stupid he couldn't even be bothered to file a proper defense by the newspaper's deadline. P.S. Fuck you.