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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Republican Word Master Comments On Political Language

Republican pollster Frank Luntz. (AP)

Today Congress begins debating what Republicans have named the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Notable health economists don’t think the health reform will kill jobs and Democrats tried to get Republicans to remove the word “killing” from the bill after the Tucson shootings. But the phrase “job-killing” remains in the bill’s title, though House Speaker John Boehner has also referred to it as the “job-destroying” bill.

What does Republican pollster Frank Luntz think about the “job killing” language?  He came up with other phrases that have scored big for the GOP, such as “death tax” instead of estate tax, and PolitiFact’s 2010 Lie of the Year: the “government takeover” of healthcare.

With the call for post-Tucson civility in Congress, we ask Luntz about political language, and why he says “what matters is not what you say. It’s what people hear.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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