Kerryism of the Day.

The senator's caveats and curlicues.
May 21 2004 11:59 AM

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.

Don Imus: Regarding what was going on there at the primary prison, Sen. Kennedy said that they hadn't closed the Saddam Hussein torture chambers; they were simply under new management, which was a cute line. But it outraged Sen. Inhofe and some others. Do you think Sen. Kennedy was right when he said that? 

Kerry: I don't agree with 1 that. He's my friend 2, but I don't agree with 3 that. 4
                                 —Imus in the Morning, May 12, 2004

[1] the framing of
[2] and I respect him enormously
[3] the framing of
[4] But I know what he's saying.

Kerry version:

I don't agree with the framing of that. He's my friend, and I respect him enormously, but I don't agree with the framing of that. But I know what he's saying.

Got a Kerryism? Send it to kerryisms@slate.com.

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