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Tue Oct 2, 2012, 12:57 PM

The ghosts of Zingers past. And some of them backfire

Investigative journalist Robert Parry writes yesterday of researching in the National Archives and finding some four pages of prepared "zingers" for Pres. George H.W. Bush in preparation for their Oct. 11, 1992 debate. Parry also goes into many of the early RW smears about Clinton that these played on. Most of these smears were ginned up by the Bush campaign itself, seeking to paint Clinton (the 'pro-business' "New Democrat" who made a point of not being beholden to traditional Democratic 'special' interest constituencies) as a some sort of radical (even a closeted communist). Parry goes into the background on some of those smears.

The excerpt below is a demonstration that "zingers" can backfire. When Bush tried to question Clinton's patriotism, he mangled it with his usual word salad, and Clinton had a riposte that hit him right between the eyes and completely derails any further "zinger"-usage by Bush.


When Debate ‘Zingers’ Backfired
October 1, 2012

By Robert Parry


***

However, the “zinger” ambush was spoiled when Bush clumsily tried to impugn Clinton’s patriotism and encountered a strong counterattack. Early in the debate, Bush raised the loyalty issue in response to a question about character, but the incumbent’s message was lost in a cascade of inarticulate sentence fragments.

“I said something the other day where I was accused of being like Joe McCarthy because I question — I’ll put it this way, I think it’s wrong to demonstrate against your own country or organize demonstrations against your own country in foreign soil,” Bush said.

“I just think it’s wrong. I — that — maybe — they say, ‘well, it was a youthful indiscretion.’ I was 19 or 20 flying off an aircraft carrier and that shaped me to be commander in chief of the armed forces, and — I’m sorry but demonstrating — it’s not a question of patriotism, it’s a question of character and judgment.”

Clinton responded by confronting Bush directly. “You have questioned my patriotism,” the Democrat shot back. Clinton then unloaded his own zinger:

“When Joe McCarthy went around this country attacking people’s patriotism, he was wrong. He was wrong, and a senator from Connecticut stood up to him, named Prescott Bush. Your father was right to stand up to Joe McCarthy. You were wrong to attack my patriotism.”
http://consortiumnews.com/2012/10/01/when-debatezingers-backfired/

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Reply The ghosts of Zingers past. And some of them backfire (Original post)
JHB Oct 2012 OP
sharp_stick Oct 2012 #1
gkhouston Oct 2012 #2
Bad Thoughts Oct 2012 #3
Myrina Oct 2012 #4
JHB Oct 2012 #5
bemildred Oct 2012 #6

Response to JHB (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 01:11 PM

1. That's an interesting look back

time had softened my memory about just how nasty that campaign got. Luckily for us Clinton was well qualified to handle the bile bush lobbed at him.

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Response to JHB (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 01:15 PM

2. Thanks for the timely reminder of what can go wrong when an ill-prepared candidate goes up against

someone with all sorts of facts at his fingertips. Does anyone truly believe Obama can't handle all sorts of "zingers" about health care, the economy, or foreign policy?

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Response to JHB (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 01:40 PM

3. Candidates haunted by their fathers

I find it ironic that Romney and the Bushes have been haunted by fathers who were better, more honest, more noble than they could aspire to be.

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Response to Bad Thoughts (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 02:06 PM

4. Don't fool yourself.

NONE of the Bush clan, and I mean NONE, were 'better, more honest or noble' than the current generations.
The rot runs deep.

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Response to Bad Thoughts (Reply #3)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 03:36 PM

5. GHW's father was Prescott Bush, a Mitt Romney of his day...

...whose own father (Samuel P. Bush) was a railroad executive, bank board member, and manufacturing association president.

Prescott became a Wall Streeter at Brown Brothers Harriman (thanks to relations that started with his dad), including a unit that handled assets of German industrialist and Nazi-backer Fritz Thyssen.

Prescott afterward became a US Senator from Connecticut, a "Northeastern Republican" of the sort that now seems liberal(ish) because of how foaming that party has become under "movement conservatives".

It's not so much a case of "haunted" for GHWB, just a pointed counterexample, much like George Romney and tax forms.

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Response to JHB (Original post)

Tue Oct 2, 2012, 03:39 PM

6. It's going to take more than zingers this time. nt

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