Lesson from Herman Cain: Choose Your Words Wisely

Herman Cain’s weekend farewell speech has been sliced and diced to determine how many different absurd things happened while he was at the podium.

The departing presidential candidate’s quote from the 2000 Pokémon movie during the speech was, by far, the standout. Specifically, he quoted the Donna Summers song “Power of One,” which plays during the closing credit of the film. The Daily Beast did a closer analysis (ha), showing that the origin of the quote was at first thought to be the Olympics. It was only after closer inspection that the song’s true origin was revealed.

Seems like a simple lesson, but it’s surprising how many times we see that it has to be repeated — choose your words wisely. Ill-conceived tweets, interviews gone bad, catchphrases that go awry — these are all the result of poorly chosen words.

Besides the Pokémon quote, Cain also blamed pundits for the “spin” that created “a cloud of doubt” around his family and campaign. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz was having none of it, blaming the demise of his campaign on all of the sexual allegations and wacky 9-9-9 talk. Yes, that had something to do with it too. Saying what’s really happening isn’t “spin.” Trying to twist what is really happening into something that you find more palatable (like what Cain just tried to do right there) is.

(Note also, in the speech, he still pretends not to know where the line really came from. Oh you, Herman Cain.)

But as we said, these lessons about cautiously speaking fall on deaf ears. Take for example Newt Gingrich, who is now the guy to beat. Gingrich says he’s going to be the Republican candidate because he’s “been around forever.” Jon Stewart compared him to that old can of vegetables that’s just hanging out in the back of the cabinet. So even as Stewart laments the departure of his latest source of material, he can rest assured another equally gaffe-prone GOP candidate will pop up quickly.

[image via Mediaite]