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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The drawlin' Hillary smear

by folkbum

Driving to work yesterday, I heard clips on NPR of speeches by both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who spent Sunday morning a few blocks apart at different churches in Selma, Alabama, observing the 42nd anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." I remember thinking to myself, hearing those clips, that Obama spoke with the cadence of the black church much more than he usually does. During the Hillary clips, though, I didn't notice any departure from her usual style of speech. (Listen online to the story hear for yourself, and see if you agree with me.)

So imagine my surprise when toodling around the internet last night to find that conservatives are complaining about Hillary's put-on Southern drawl. They were all playing off something on the Drudge report (Drudge? Smearing a Clinton? No . . .). To its credit, the right Cheddarsphere didn't bite, either claiming it was more Forest Gump or even, yes, defending Hillary. For my part, I thought, first, "Didn't Hillary spend a couple of decades in Little Rock? Is it that strange, then, that she could speak their language?" But I was still kind of confused, given that what I heard on my radio wasn't drawly and all.

But then Greg Sargent cleared it up for me:
But as always, a simple fact-check shows this latest wingnut preoccupation to be highly dishonest. The audio clip Drudge linked to cherry-picked that quote and removed it completely from its context, which would have shown that Hillary wasn't adopting this accent or grammar or language as her own at all.

Rather, it turns out that Hillary was actually quoting the hymn lyrics of someone else--while clearly and very openly imitating (not very well, it turns out) the cadences she thought the lyrics would traditionally have been delivered in. [. . .] Hillary's real sins here were being corny as hell and painfully tone deaf. But phony this wasn't.
Never ones to pass up a good smear, the right has been playing up this story and the media have veen falling for it, too.

If we have another year (or 20 months) of this to look forward to, it's going to be a loooooong campaign season.

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