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February 1, 2008

Silver-tongued or eloquent?

Bob Katz, the author of Elaine’s Circle and not so incidentally the guy who manages me as a public speaker, has an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor asking us to pay closer attention to how politicians speak. The piece well expresses our American ambivalence about political rhetoric. (It reminds me of Bertrand Russell’s old game: “I’m articulate. You’ve got the gift of gab. He’s silver-tongued.”)

And this is exactly not what Bob has in mind, but: Last night, Hillary impressed me by changing from “the differences among us” to “the differences between us” when she remembered that now there were only two candidates on the stage. On the other hand, she said something about “between him and I,” a far less obscure error. (Yes, this is the most trivial possible comment about the debate that does not refer to the candidates’ wardrobes.)

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