Whence a lyin’ dog-faced pony soldier?

Joe Biden did the weird Joe Biden thing to the young lady in Hampton, New Hampshire who asked him an honest question about his poor performance in the Iowa caucuses. He acknowledged it was a good question. He asked her if she had ever attended a caucus. Relevance to her question? Not entirely apparent. When the young lady answered in the affirmative, Biden called her a lyin’ dog-faced pony soldier (video below).

It could have been worse. He might have jabbed her in the chest.

He might have gone easy on her; he might have told her to vote for one of his opponents in the New Hampshire primary.

He might have simply answered her question.

Instead, from somewhere in the windmills of his mind, he called her a liar, I think.

Having slept on it overnight, I wondered where the heck that came from. The Washington Post reports that Biden drew it from John Wayne in the film Hondo. The Post also asserts that Biden’s insult was jocular. As the headline has it: “Biden jokingly calls voter who asked about Iowa a ‘lying dog-faced pony soldier.’” . Something tells me that the powers that be at the Post seek to cushion Biden’s descent.

Checking around online, I note that other outlets have gone deeper in their search for the source of the insult:

Biden has used the line before and Reuters reported that he’s said it’s a reference to the 1953 John Wayne movie “Hondo.” A search of the script revealed a few references to pony soldiers and lying, but not together nor with the dog-faced portion.

Some on social media suggested Biden may have been referencing “Pony Soldier,” a 1952 film that starred Tyrone Power and not John Wayne. However, according to Slate, the line as Biden used it never appeared in that film either.

The quote above comes from the Huffpost report under a headline that signals a view of Biden’s descent that is somewhat more in tune with the weirdness than the Post’s: “Lying Dog-Faced What??? Joe Biden Mystifies With Bonkers Joke Insult At Voter.”

In the spirit of scholarship, the search for sources continues.