The Obama case is different in two ways. Militating in favor of Hunter's position, "cleaning up" Obama's quotation does not involve changing his words, only spelling them in the usual way rather than phonetically to capture his pronunciation. That is a common practice. When someone says "gonna" and is quoted in print, it usually reads "going to." When Rick Perry, in a debate earlier this month called President Obama what sounded like "an abject lahr," it was quoted as "an abject liar."So this is the issue? Whether we insert the missing g (I almost wrote missin g but then thought better of it)? Would we be asking the question if the President had given the same speech to the DAR, or if Obama were a white president?
All of which brings to mind an exercise we did with our Middle School during the last presidential election. Close your eyes and listen to this ad:
Yes, there's slurring and eliding. And yes, it's a Southern accent. Would we have the same conversations about this speech as we're having about President Obama's speech? And doesn't this sound remarkably like President George W. Bush?
So let's focus on content, not sound, ok? I mean, isn't that the important thing?