Testing the (presidential) waters

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed May 3 16:47:01 UTC 2006

Former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani is in Iowa "testing the waters." NYS  governor 
George Pataki is in New Hampshire "testing the waters." I didn't know  that 
they were water-testers.
A headline in AM NEW YORK, May 2, 2006, pg. 3, is: "Giuliani tests '08  
waters." In Iowa? Isn't that a land-locked state?
What's the earliest for this cliche?
2. To subject to a test of any kind; to try, put to the proof; to  ascertain 
the existence, genuineness, or quality of. to test out, to put (a theory, 
etc.) to a practical  test. Phrases: to  test (something) to failure 
or destruction; to test the water (fig.: cf. quot. 1888).   
1748  [see tested below]. 1760-72  _H.  BROOKE_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-b4.html#h-brooke)  Fool of Qual. (1809) I. 48 You  have been 
sufficiently tested. a1799  _WASHINGTON_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-w.html#washington)  Address (Webster 1828),  Experience is the surest standard 
by which to test the real  tendency of the existing constitution. 1815  
_JEFFERSON_ (http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-j.html#jefferson)  Writ. (1830) 
IV. 260 Materials  which test the truth it contains. 1820  Blackw. Mag. Sept. 
591/1 They  have not the means of testing the statements. 1834-43  _SOUTHEY_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-s4.html#southey)  Doctor cxlv. (1862) 
397 But I  will test (as an American would say..) I will test Mr. Campbell's 
assertion. 1837  _J. H. NEWMAN_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-n.html#j-h-newman)  Proph. Office Ch. 324 The Church  is bound ever to test and 
verify her doctrine. 1838  _GLADSTONE_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-g.html#gladstone)  State in Rel. Ch. (1839) 186  This theory however has not 
been tested experimentally. 1888  _M. E. BRADDON_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-b3.html#m-e-braddon)  Fatal Three I. v, I have tested  the water in 
all the wells. 1926  Publishers' Weekly 29 May 1794/2 To test out the value 
of radio publicity. 1962  _F. I. ORDWAY_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-o.html#f-i-ordway)  et al.  Basic Astronautics vii. 325 We  first select 
100 units and test them to failure. 1972  _D.  RAMSAY_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-r.html#d-ramsay)  Little Murder Music 62 ‘If  you're 
attempting to establish a ‘If ’ ‘I'm just testing the water,’ Meredith said. 1974  
Howard Jrnl. XIV. 104 Legal  philosophers could back up these efforts by testing 
out some of their theories  with research projects. 1978  _A.  PRICE_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-p3.html#a-price)  '44 Vintage xviii. 203 
Sergeant  Winston tested the statement to destruction. 1980  _J.  KRANTZ_ 
(http://dictionary.oed.com/help/bib/oed2-k.html#j-krantz)  Princess Daisy xxv. 443 ‘I 
guess  it's just..lucky..that Supracorp's such a big business,’ Kiki said, 
testing the waters.
_ROCKEFELLER  GETS AN OHIO SCRUTINY; He Speaks in a G.O.P. Area of Strong 
Conservatism _ 
By JOSEPH A. LOFTUS Special to The New York  Times. New York Times 
(1857-Current file). New  York, N.Y.: Apr 30, 1963. p. 18 (1 page) 
The invitation was a gingerly gesture, in the manner of men  testing the 
water with one toe.
_Humphrey  Plans Tour Of Europe; As a Reassurance 'Testing the Water' Visit 
to Be Brief _ 
By Andrew J. Glass Washington Post Staff  Writer. The Washington Post, Times 
Herald  (1959-1973). Washington, D.C.: Mar 21, 1967. p. A5 (1 page) 
     _Morgantown Post, The_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Viewer.aspx?img=P9SpTvomPU+KID/6NLMW2nncqtMlNy/YdNf76S/z3hlZGAhRAKpOXUIF+CsZYmrz)  _Saturday,  
April 04, 1959_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search="testing+the+water"+and+candidate+AND+date:1959-04-04)  _Morgantown,_ 
:19291+AND+stateid:102+AND+range:1759-1959)   _West  Virginia_ 
teid:102+AND+range:1759-1959)   ...being  labelled "anti" is a major reason 
for busi- ness TESTING THE  WATER so long before You give me warm bodies to 
ring doorbells  AND talk up a cANDidate, AND I can win  cANDidate. bor's tide of 
strength at THE polls last  November. "I'm finding busi ..
     _Oshkosh Daily Northwestern_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Viewer.aspx?img=Pf2/SIh9fJOKID/6NLMW2qSqBm1bJcDawhCVmv+vjh58AItrqrfK9g==)  _Monday,  
December 07, 1959_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search="testing+the+water"+and+candidate+AND+date:1959-12-07)  _Oshkosh,_ 
96+AND+stateid:103+AND+range:1759-1968)   _Wisconsin_ 
AND+range:1759-1968)   ...If voters  were to be ask- ed to express THEir 
preference for a  cANDidate on THE TESTING THE WATER to  see if it's warm enough. 
All through THE vice presidency Is it  really believed that any cANDidate for 
political of- iice is going  to win ..
     _Syracuse Herald Journal_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Viewer.aspx?img=guFez8c11n2KID/6NLMW2u15gyf/4KvxOzElgfpZoCBDKhJCVIbJBkIF+CsZYmrz)  _Sunday, 
 April 07, 1968_ 
(http://www.newspaperarchive.com/Search.aspx?Search="testing+the+water"+and+President+AND+date:1968-04-07)  _Syracuse,_ 
28660+AND+stateid:67+AND+range:1759-1968)   _New  York_ 
+AND+range:1759-1968)   ...AnoTHEr potential PRESIDENT cANDidate is  TESTING 
THE WATER. Aides of New York Mayor John  Lindsay admit THEy are Lindsay 
that an  incumbent PRESIDENT can effect his own renomination appears to  ..

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