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The perils of political speechwriting

A supplier of "words" has to be comfortable with insincerity

By Barton Swaim   December 2015


I first met the Governor in his office with Rick, his Chief of Staff. I introduced myself; he said, “A pleasure”; and we sat down. For a few long seconds he said nothing. Then it seemed he wanted to speak. His mouth formed a circle, as if whatever he wanted to say began with a w.

“Wwwww,” he said, staring upward. Then he fixed his eyes on Rick. “Wwwwwha.”

Rick seemed ready to interject, but at last the Governor said, “Www. What are we doing here?”

Rick introduced me. “He’s here to…

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