Note To Candidates And Their Advisers: Just Say “Blank” Instead

March 7, 2008

First, the fuss: Barack Obama forced to decry adviser’s ‘monster’ remarks of Hillary Clinton

During an interview with The Scotsman, Samantha Power, one of Obama’s unpaid advisers, said Clinton would stop at nothing in her zeal to seize the lead from Obama. monsters_inc_7.jpg

“She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,” Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark.

Yep, one would really hope that all the campaigns could avoid the childish name-calling.   I know things will just slip out, but you’d think they’d have learned their lesson that extra time spent defending and apologizing isn’t moving your message forward. 

All this reminded me of someone I used to work with about 15 years ago.   His name was Dwayne, and while he happened to be mentally disabled, he had a really funny (and effective) way of name-calling… without name-calling:  He simply substituted “blank” for the offending word.

So, for the Samantha Power example:

“She is a blank, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything,”

You see?  Genius.  You get the point across, with the added bonus of not actually using any offending verbiage.  You let the listener (or reader) fill in the “blank”.  No apology needed.

Over time, you can begin to use variations, and even use it as a substitute for profanity.  For example:

“I can’t believe that the New York Times put that blankin’ story on the blankety blankin’ front page!”

Ready for prime time TV.  No problems. 

Update:  Samantha Power has resigned!   What the blank?


  1. Don’t worry she’ll still find her way to a paid cabinet position Chen.

  2. We’ll have to see about that one fray. I’m not so sure. Maybe he’s better off without her anyway.

  3. She was going to be a hell of a lightning rod so you are right when you say “…better off…”. I think though Barack’s foreign policy thinking has been seen as in line with hers.Not a good week for these “unpaid advisors” though. S.Rice stating (misspeaking) that Barack isn’t ready for the 3 A.M.phone call. I hope he can pick a better Cabinet.

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