Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Tue May 29 16:13:42 UTC 2007

On 5/29/07, Arnold M. Zwicky <zwicky at csli.stanford.edu> wrote:
> On May 29, 2007, at 8:28 AM, Doug Harris wrote:
> > Don't we have a politician (is it Gore?) who's been recognized --
> > and ribbed
> > by the likes of Jon Stewart -- for referring to himself that way?
> Bob Dole was famous for doing this.

And was mercilessly spoofed by Norm MacDonald on "Saturday Night Live"
in 1996 for doing so, e.g.:

(3/16/96, "Real World" sketch)
Bob Dole: Bob Dole likes peanut butter. Bob Dole's never made a secret of that.

After all the ridicule, Dole hired a speech coach to force himself to
use 1st-person reference.  On 10/15/96 USA Today reported:

"He has already largely rid his standard campaign speech of the verbal
tic that's prompted the most jokes about his style: third-person
references to himself as 'Bob Dole.' Friday in Dewey Beach, Del., the
Kansas senator referred to himself as 'Bob Dole' only once and used
the pronoun 'I' 59 times."

And after the election he came on "SNL" to poke fun at himself:

Norm MacDonald: Aw, come on now, Senator, it's a great impression.
Listen to this: [ speaking in his Bob Dole voice ] "Come November 5th,
a lot of people are going to be surprised by Bob Dole, because Bob
Dole's gonna win this election!"
Bob Dole: [ shaking head ] Doesn't sound a thing like me. First of
all, I don't run around saying "Bob Dole does this" and "Bob Dole does
that." That's not something Bob Dole does. It's not something Bob Dole
has ever done, and it's not something Bob Dole will ever do!

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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