Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency

By Michael Lempert; Michael Silverstein | Go to book overview

Five
UNFLIPPING THE FLOP

CHERYL OTIS: Senator Kerry, after talking with several co-workers and family
and friends, I asked the ones who said they were not voting for you, “Why?”
They said that you were too wishy-washy. Do you have a reply for them?

JOHN KERRY: Yes, I certainly do. (laughter)

—8 October 2004. Second presidential debate, held at
Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri


Reminiscing Kerry

On 30 October 2007, more than two months before the primaries began, the Democratic Party held a televised debate in Philadelphia for seven of its presidential hopefuls, which included then front-runner New York senator Hillary Clinton (New York Times 2007). At a certain moment, as recounted in chapter 3, Clinton was pressed about her view on governor of New York Eliot Spitzer’s beleaguered proposal to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. “It makes a lot of sense,” she was quoted as saying of his plan in New Hampshire. In response to the debate’s co-moderator Tim Russert, her answer this time around seemed more measured: two parts sympathy (“what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum”) and one part disapproval (“we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well-intentioned, can fill

-144-

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Creatures of Politics: Media, Message, and the American Presidency
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface & Acknowledgments xi
  • One - Introduction- "Message" Is the Medium 1
  • Two - Getting It "Ju … St Right!" 58
  • Three - Addressing "The Issues" 105
  • Four - Ethno-Blooperology 122
  • Five - Unflipping the Flop 144
  • Six - The Message in Hand 170
  • Seven - What Goes around … 200
  • Notes 231
  • References 245
  • Index 257
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