posted by Nick Hornby October 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm Uncategorized , , ,

During an interview with Neil Hannity on Fox in the US a couple of weeks ago, Sarah Palin defended John McCain’s use of a phrase that is coming back to haunt him:

HANNITY: Senator Barack Obama yesterday was attacking Senator McCain for saying that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Do you believe that the fundamentals of our economy are strong?

PALIN: Well, it was an unfair attack on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use. The fundamentals that he was having to explain afterwards, he means the work force, he means ingenuity of the American people. And of course, that is strong, that is the foundation of our economy. So that was an unfair attack based on verbiage that John McCain used. Certainly, it is a mess, though.

It was a typically Palinesque answer which managed to demonstrate both her ignorance (she thinks “verbiage” means “words”, unless she believes that “verbage”, which is what she seemed to say in the interview, is actually a word) and her baffling rhetorical style. That last sentence would be a losing concession, coming from the lips of most politicians.

Let’s take her defence at face value, and accept that “the fundamentals” means both “the work force” and “the ingenuity of the American people”. Why does he never seem to explain this? The Youtube clip below shows that he’s had plenty of opportunity. Why doesn’t he vary the phrasing sometimes? Get a little work force/ingenuity action going?