Kerryism of the Day.

Kerryism of the Day.

Kerryism of the Day.

The senator's caveats and curlicues.
May 19 2004 1:44 PM

Kerryism of the Day

The senator's caveats and curlicues.

What did he say?

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 an equally 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. To get back to this Kerryism, click "Return to English version."

Today's Kerryism:

Question: What is your position on Bush's fight to ban gay marriages?


Kerry: I believe that the president 1 should not use the Constitution 2 for election purposes 3. It's a document that we haven't touched 4 in years, and I don't think it should be used for the purpose of driving a political wedge through America. I think it's wrong. 5 6 7 8 9

—Washington, D.C., April 15, 2004

[1] of the United States


[3] during an election year

[4] certainly with respect to the Bill of Rights

[5] Now, that said, I have taken the position I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. That's my position, and I think that's the way you respect both traditional values.

[7] But you can allow civil unions, which protects the rights of people in America not to be discriminated against.

[8] And I think you can balance that, and I think it's appropriate to.

[9] But I do think that it ought to be left to the states.

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