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Politics is a rough sport, and one of the easiest ways to get beat up by your opponents is to say something that is demonstrably not true.
Tall-tales, exaggerations, out and out fabrications — it all opens a Pandora's box of questions from reporters with the gnawing skills of a ferret. And no candidate needs that.
So pity Mitt Romney. They are chewing on him now for something he said which he has had to come out and try to explain. Mitt said, "I saw my father march with Martin Luther King."
George Romney was a prominent politician during the civil rights era, and Mitt was trying to say that his family has never bought into some of the ancient texts in Mormon doctrine about black people that sound and feel very racist.
Problem is, now a Boston newspaper has figured out that George Romney did not actually march with Martin Luther King.
So now Mitt is out explaining that he didn't mean he literally saw his father march with Dr. King, but that figuratively George Romney marched because he supported King and the civil rights movement.
Oops. This is not an explanation you want to get into. It is convoluted and it will never placate some people, especially your opponents.
So let this be a lesson. My father would have marched with Dr. King had the occasion arose, that works. But saying you saw your father march cannot be taken any other way than literally. You either saw him or you didn't see him. We're not talking the mind's eye here.
I'm not attacking Mitt over this because I think he is a good person and a qualified candidate. But in the advice department, there is no figuratively in politics. It is either literally true or it's literally not true. Save your figuratively true for your golf buddies on the course.
That's My Word.
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Read Your Word