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.
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
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
Got a Kerryism? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.