Quote: “What, in my background, equips me to deal with evil and bad men?” Hillary Clinton, repeating a reporter’s question.
Figure of Speech: innuendo, the winking figure. From the Latin, meaning “significant nod.”
Poor Hillary. She tried to be funny, repeating a reporter’s question in a style that dripped with weird innuendo: “What? In my background? Equips me to deal with evil? And bad? Men?”
The innuendo is a form of irony, planting thoughts (usually negative) in an audience’s head. In this case, the intended fall guy seems to have been Bill, though she denies it. But the real victim is Hillary herself. She’s trying to overcome her well-deserved reputation as the Mr. Spock of politics, more Vulcan than human, by injecting a little emotion. The problem is, humor is a cool emotion, and Hillary’s ethos needs a little heating up.
Figaro’s advice: find an occasion to get mad. Voters didn’t take chuckling ol’ Ronald Reagan seriously until he got all hot about the use of a microphone before the New Hampshire primary. (“I paid for that microphone!”) People saw he had some serious backbone. It was the real beginning of his rise in the national polls.
A lot of people hate Hillary for the opposite reason: she failed to get mad when her husband humiliated her in front of all the world. Supporters say that proves her steadfast love for her husband. But others think that just shows how craven she is — how cold and calculating and ambitious. Get mad, Hillary, in the right way and at the right time, and more people will begin to think you’re presidential material.
Snappy Answer: “Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more.”