Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Within minutes of one another, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama spoke to the nation after Tuesday’s primaries. And they each used a trope familiar to anyone who listens to presidential campaign tripe: the stories of individuals they have met along the trail whose hardship stories incredibly and coincidentally bolster the candidates’ campaign themes.

You know what I mean – the college student who gets only three hours sleep because she works two jobs to pay for her little sister’s medical care; the soldier just home from war who is waiting for medical treatment from a callous Army; and, amazingly, each candidate told of an impoverished elderly person who sent them $3!!!! Different people, I assume, because the one who contributed her cat-food dinner allowance to Obama also enclosed a piece of Scripture.

Here is a free, good idea for an enterprising journalist: Demand from the campaigns the identities of these people. The results would be front-page material because they would be one of three kinds: 1) heartwarming human interest stories 2) utterly false and indicative of the true nature of presidential mendacity or 3) totally true but with a kicker that the teller of the story did not vote for the candidate using him or her as political fodder.

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