AP's Fournier counts the "I's" in Clinton's speech, but her focus was often outward

››› ››› TOM ALLISON & MORGAN WEILAND

In an AP "analysis," Ron Fournier asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton's convention speech, which he described as "laced 17 times by some variation of the pronoun 'I,' " was part of the "bill" Sen. Barack Obama had to pay for Clinton's agreement to "end[] her historic bid for the presidency in a manner that, however messy, still left Obama in a stronger position than Kennedy left Jimmy Carter in 1980, when the Massachusetts senator extracted platform concessions and shrank from the traditional unity show at the final gavel." In fact, Media Matters counted 21 instances in the speech in which Clinton used "I." But in at least 13 of these instances, Clinton was not focusing on herself and was instead making one of three points: her support for Obama's election; the importance of the 2008 election; and who really matters in this election.

In an August 27 Associated Press "analysis," Ron Fournier asserted that Sen. Hillary Clinton's August 26 speech at the Democratic National Convention -- which he described as "laced 17 times by some variation of the pronoun 'I' " -- was part of the "bill" Sen. Barack Obama had to pay for Clinton's agreement to "end[] her historic bid for the presidency in a manner that, however messy, still left Obama in a stronger position than [Ted] Kennedy left Jimmy Carter in 1980, when the Massachusetts senator extracted platform concessions and shrank from the traditional unity show at the final gavel." Fournier gave no explanation for his apparent view that the number of times Clinton used the pronoun "I" in her speech was an indication of the "price" she exacted from Obama. And while Media Matters for America actually counted 21 instances in the speech in which Clinton used "some variation of the pronoun 'I,' " contrary to Fournier's suggestion, Clinton's focus in most of those instances was not on herself, but on Obama and the election. Specifically, in at least 13 of these instances, she was making one of three points: her support for Obama's election; the importance of the 2008 election; and who really matters in this election.

In three instances, Clinton used the pronoun "I" to express support for Obama. For example, she said: "I'm here tonight as ... a proud supporter of Barack Obama" and "I cannot wait to watch Barack Obama sign into law a health care plan that covers every single American."

Clinton also used the pronoun "I" to call attention to how important she believes this election is. For instance, she stated, "I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches, advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights here at home and around the world ... to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people."

In eight instances, Clinton used the pronoun "I" to call attention to the people she believes really matter in this election. For example, she stated, "I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism," and "I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care."

The following are all the instances Media Matters identified in the speech in which Clinton used the pronoun "I":

  • I ... I am so honored to be here tonight.
  • You know, I'm -- I'm here tonight as a proud mother, as a proud Democrat ... as a proud senator from New York ... a proud American ... and a proud supporter of Barack Obama. [Support for Obama]
  • I haven't spent the past 35 years in the trenches, advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women's rights here at home and around the world ... to see another Republican in the White House squander our promise of a country that really fulfills the hopes of our people. [Importance of this election]
  • Tonight, I ask you to remember what a presidential election is really about. [Importance of this election]
  • I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism. [Who really matters in this election]
  • I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care. [Who really matters in this election]
  • And I will always remember the young boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage, that her employer had cut her hours. [Who really matters in this election]
  • I will always be grateful to everyone from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the territories ... who joined our campaign on behalf of all those people left out and left behind by the Bush administration.
  • I ran for president to renew the promise of America, to rebuild the middle class and sustain the American dream, to provide opportunity to those who are willing to work hard for it and have that work rewarded, so they could save for college, a home, and retirement, afford gas and groceries, and have a little left over each month.
  • Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.
  • Those are the reasons I ran for president, and those are the reasons I support Barack Obama for president. [Support for Obama]
  • I want you -- I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me, or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? [Who really matters in this election]
  • Democrats know how to do this As I recall, we did it before with President Clinton and the Democrats.
  • And I cannot wait to watch Barack Obama sign into law a health care plan that covers every single American. [Support for Obama]
  • And I know what that can mean for every man, woman, and child in America. [Who really matters in this election]
  • I'm a United States senator because, in 1848, a group of courageous women, and a few brave men, gathered in Seneca Falls, New York, many traveling for days and nights ... to participate in the first convention on women's rights in our history.
  • I have seen it.
  • I have seen it in our teachers and our firefighters, our police officers, our nurses, our small-business owners, and our union workers. [Who really matters in this election]
  • I've seen it in the men and women of our military. [Who really matters in this election]
  • I want you to think about your children and grandchildren come Election Day. [Who really matters in this election]

From Ron Fournier's August 27 AP article, "Analysis: A perfect night for Clinton, Obama?":

Behind the scenes Tuesday, the Obama and Clinton camps struck a tentative deal that would allow some states to cast votes in a roll call before somebody -- possibly Clinton herself -- cuts short the tally and asks the convention to nominate Obama by unanimous consent. This was her price for ending her historic bid for the presidency in a manner that, however messy, still left Obama in a stronger position than Kennedy left Jimmy Carter in 1980, when the Massachusetts senator extracted platform concessions and shrank from the traditional unity show at the final gavel.

But she did extract her price.

The bill came due Tuesday. The crowd. The applause. The promise of a vote Wednesday, and a speech laced 17 times by some variation of the pronoun "I."

"You never gave up," Clinton told her delegates, a phrase that so perfectly fits her. "You never gave up. And together we made history."

Network/Outlet
Associated Press
Person
Ron Fournier
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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