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Up To Date

Decoding Political Speech, Jargon And Slang


Words matter . . . especially in politics, but perhaps no one makes themselves harder to understand than our elected representatives.

On this edition of Up to Date Steve Kraske takes a look at the inside jargon and slang of American political speech with the co-authors of Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang and Bluster of American Political Speech.  From “whale” to “wing nut” and “small bore” to “smelling jet fumes”, we’ll get the real meaning of the lingo heard in Washington, D.C. and statehouses across the country.


  • Chuck McCutcheon is co-author of The Bible of American Politics, National Journal's Almanac of American Politics.
  • David Mark is editor-in-chief of Politix and author of Going Dirty: The Art of Negative Campaigning.


Up To Datepoliticsspeech
Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Danie Alexander is the senior producer of Up To Date.