Of bailouts and enemy combatants

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NPR's "On the Media" had a fascinating interview this weekend with Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster and language consultant, about President George W. Bush's linguistic ineptitude. Luntz doesn't focus on dopey malapropisms like "put food on your family" but on how clumsy Bush has been at framing issues. 

For instance, Bush has talked about a "bailout," though it would sound a lot more reassuring if he'd call it a "recovery plan" or "rescue plan." Some of his other locutions -- such as calling prisoners of war "enemy combatants" -- have the opposite problem: They're such flagrant attempts at spin that they invite our cynicism. 

All in all, it's refreshing to hear a Republican talk frankly about something Bush has gotten wrong and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama get right. 



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