Quote: “We aren’t going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters.” Robert Gibbs, Barack Obama’s campaign spokesman.
Figure of Speech: apophasis (a-PAH-pha-sis), the deny- it- then- say- it figure. From the Greek, meaning “denial.”
Media mogul David Geffen, who used to be a big Clinton donor, now supports Barack Obama. Geffen trashed both Clintons in an interview with Maureen Dowd, the New York Times’ catty columnist, saying Senator Clinton’s refusal to apologize for her Iraq War vote was “typical of Hillary.” He went on to imply that Bill remains a horndog. Pow!
Hillary’s spokesman grabbed his rhetorical light saber and went after — not Geffin, but Obama. “The politics of trash!” cried Clinton flack Phil Singer. Wham!
Then Obama mouthpiece Robert Gibbs stepped into the fray by denying he was stepping into the fray. His quote is a fine apophasis, in which the orator makes a point by denying he’s making it. It’s a delicious form of political irony that makes you look objective while you’re anything but.
Let the 2008 Democratic Civility Campaign begin!
Snappy Answer: “With neutrality like that, who needs attack ads?”