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Word watch for the Sarah Palin/Joe Biden debate

October 3, 2008 |  9:21 am

No surprise here -- the nouns "maverick" and "reform" were heard early and often in the Thursday night debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

John McCain long had laid claim to the "maverick" title, and as his running mate, Palin quickly worked it into her initial answers. Overall, a word search of the debate transcript shows she uttered the singular or plural form of it six times.

But in an upset, Biden used it more often -- nine times, in fact. That's because, as the debate was coming to a close and in what was one of his stronger moments, he directly questioned McCain's claim to the maverick title. He summed up: "He's not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table."

Palin looked for every opportunity to work the word "reform" into a sentence. In all, she said it 13 times.

In something of a stunner, Biden didn't use it at all. But he did use "change" -- in the context of a different direction that he and Barack Obama would bring to the White House -- 13 times.

-- Don Frederick

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