Just an hour or so after hearing that the city had won a $10.9 million grant to finish the Riverwalk, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was understandably charged with excitement, so you could forgive him a rhetorical excess or two in a lunchtime speech Tuesday to the Tampa Downtown Partnership.
Still, the mayor provoked a little nervous laughter when he started quoting Bruce Springsteen lyrics.
Warming up some of his standard stump-speech themes — knowing your history, being optimistic and pursuing your destiny — Buckhorn recalled how he had come to the partnership's annual luncheon last year and quoted (at length) from Springsteen's Land of Hope and Dreams.
"It's a song that I love," Buckhorn said Tuesday. "And it talked about this train is leavin'. This train is headin' down the tracks, and we're taking whores and gamblers with us."
Cue the laughter, not very loud.
"We're takin' losers and winners," Buckhorn said. Then he paused. "I'll bet the last mayor never said 'whore,' did she?"
Bigger laugh. Then he said, "this is a far more robust administration, I've got to tell you." And then, to the clergyman who gave the invocation, "Sorry, pastor."