Saturday, May 26, 2007

McCain vs. Obama: Spelling Smackdown

Ooh! Will the next president of the United States be chosen based on his spelling skills? Or is this just a bunch of undeserved... flack.

Media flacks for McCain's false "flak" attack on Obama's spelling

Radio host Rush Limbaugh, Politico senior political writer Jonathan Martin, and other media figures uncritically repeated Sen. John. McCain's (R-AZ) attack on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) spelling of "flack jacket" with a "c" in "flack," without noting -- as MSNBC congressional correspondent Mike Viqueira did -- that "flack" is an "alternative to the spelling of 'flak.' " Indeed, the phrase "flack jacket" with a "c" appears on dozens of military websites.

Obama, responding in part to McCain's criticism of his recent Iraq war vote, issued a May 25 press release arguing that "the course we are on in Iraq" is not "working." Obama said "a reflection of that [is] the fact that Senator McCain required a flack jacket" and other military protection when walking through a Baghdad market during a trip to Iraq in April. In a response the same day, McCain took issue with Obama's spelling: "By the way, Senator Obama, it's a 'flak' jacket, not a 'flack' jacket." In his report on McCain's attack, Viqueira cited Webster's New World Dictionary to prove that "flack" is an alternative to "flak."


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