Kerryism of the Day.

The senator's caveats and curlicues.
May 24 2004 12:10 PM

Kerryism of the Day

The senator's caveats and curlicues.

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What did he say?
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Since 2000, Slate has poked fun at George W. Bush for his torture—some say it's merely abuse—of the English language. Our "Bushisms" collection captures (as Editor Jacob Weisberg explains in his latest volume) the president's ignorance, incuriosity, laziness, and thoughtlessness expressed in frequent gaffes. Now that Democrats have settled on a presumptive presidential nominee, it's time to cast a cold eye on the pomposity and evasiveness of John Kerry.

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Here's how to read a Kerryism. The text below is Kerry's quote translated into plain English. Kerry's actual quote, however, is full of caveats and pointless embellishments. To read these, click the numbers above the text, which will take you to the caveats and embellishments, presented as footnotes. (Words in brackets before a number are what a normal person would have substituted for the ornate phrase Kerry delivered. To see the ornate phrase, click the number and read the footnote.) To return to the main text, click the number at the beginning of any footnote. To see the whole quote as Kerry delivered it, with all the caveats and embellishments, click here  or scroll down.

"I will not appoint somebody 1 who's about to undo Roe v. Wade. I've said that before. But that doesn't mean that 2 I wouldn't be prepared 3 to appoint somebody 4 who has a different point of view. I've already voted for people like that. I voted for Judge Scalia."5 6 7

—Associated Press interview, May 19, 2004

[1] with a 5-4 court

[2] if that's not the balance of the court

[4] to some court

[5] (Kerry in same interview, on his vote for Scalia) If you're looking for me to admit that I made a mistake in my years in the Senate, there you go—there's one.

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