Careening Off the Rhetorical Rails

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Over at Politico, Daniel Libit has assembled a guide to “undisciplined messaging,” the new buzzword for verbal gaffes by the three main presidential contenders. Throughout this year’s seemingly interminable race to the White House, every aside and impromptu remark by the candidates has been pounced upon, dissected by the media with unprecedented scrutiny, and exploded into non-issues that dominate the news cycle, often to the exclusion of any substantive discussion about more important issues like, say, the war in Iraq or the ailing economy. Libit takes us on a tour of this election cycle’s undisciplined messages, from Hillary Clinton’s strange assassination remark to Barack Obama’s offhand “sweetie” to various comments by staffers and surrogates, considering whether each example betrays a more sinister undercurrent of racism or sexism, or is simply a bizarre off-message excursion.

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