Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Did Biden Really Shoot the Pooch or Not?

Joe Biden's verbal snafu has been blogged about quite extensively today. Bob and Pesky Fly both covered it quite well today.

I'm not Joe Biden's biggest fan. But I would be quite interested to hear the recording the NY Observer reporter made (Surely he recorded, right?). Biden't not the smoothest talker in the world, but even George W. Bush wouldn't make so fundamental a mistake.

Which is why I want to hear the recording. I want to see where in that statement he paused.

Read the following two passages and tell me the difference between them. It's subtle, but it's huge if you spot it.


“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”




“I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American, who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” he said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

See the difference between them?

The first version, as reported by the Observer: It implies that Obama is the first African American that is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

The second version says something a little different. The comma, or lack thereof, has changed the meaning of the sentence. It says Obama is the first mainstream African-American candidate (Not technically true, but the first with a real chance at the nomination), and goes on to describe him as "articulate, bright and clean and a nice-looking guy".

I'm no fan of Joe Biden--- But before we toss him under the bus, should we perhaps make some effort to ascertain whether or not this is simply sloppy punctuation by a reporter?

7 comments:

PeskyFly said...

I know what you're driving at, but the comma doesn't change all that much, really. Either way you slice it, it's boneheaded.

And as I recall Jesse won a few delegates in his run. He was he first who had a chance. Obama's chances are enhanced by candidates like Jesse, CMB, and yes, even the Reverand Al.

autoegocrat said...

Actually, George W. Bush said something even worse.

When asked about what he's done for blacks in America, Bush said, "I hire, uh, people in my administration."

kibitzer said...

I think you've made a valuable contribution to the debate on this thing, Free. I guess my feeling is: C'mon, let's cut this guy some slack.

What? Jon Stewart and Colbert and Maher haven't opened up the room we thought they had for some honest, maybe indiscreet dialogue? (What did Maher call his great show of the recent past? "Politically what?"

There is, after all, a sense to Biden's remark, imperfectly exprtessed and incorrect as it is. When are we gonna out all this judgmental bullshit?

kibitzer said...

"When are we gonna out all this judgmental bullshit?" that shoulda been.

kibitzer said...

" When are we gonna CUT out all this judgmental bullshit?"

Wooo! Finally got it right the third time!

Dabney said...

Biden is on the Daily Show tonight, so I am sure it will be discussed.

nut-meg said...

I don't think this controversy is going to last. It will blow over. But Im not so sure Biden will win either way.