In an AP story today, Nedra Pickler offers this fascinating critique of John Kerry's speaking style -- when he says the line "I've got your back," he doesn't sound enough like a football player in the huddle:
Kerry's style is illustrated by a story he's been telling recently on the campaign trail about a woman who sent a message to him through one of his staffers: "Tell the senator we've got his back."
Kerry delights in this casual phrase, a grin bursting on his face when he tells it, and he throws it back at his audiences at nearly every stop. "I've got YOUR back," he says.
But there's a formality in the way that Kerry speaks, even when he's saying something as casual as this. He says the phrase slowly and carefully pronounces each word, so it doesn't sound like it would if it came from a friend or a teammate who made the promise in a huddle.
Thanks Nedra! That's some great reporting.
In an equally depressing turn of events, the Times voter guide section today is filled with gauzy, useless profiles focusing on the candidates' personalities and styles, and the spin watch article and policy comparison table are buried inside.
This bring us back to the fundamental problem with political reporters: most of them would rather be campaign staffers or psychoanalysts than journalists. They love to pontificate about strategy and the candidate's innermost thoughts at great length, even though they know little about either. And they skimp on the reporting of hard facts and policy that's supposedly their job.
Maureen Dowd, this is all your fault...