From Our Listeners

Vocal Impressions: The Presidential Contenders

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Sounds Like ...?

How would you describe these four voices?

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"Vocal Impressions" is a listener contest where we play a voice and you write about it. This time, we asked you to consider the voices of some of the people seeking the presidency of the United States.

Listeners' descriptions of the candidates' voices reflected a healthy degree of insight, playfulness and skepticism.

We also issue our next challenge: Describe the voices of actor and cowboy sidekick Andy Devine, politician Henry Kissinger, singer and actress Jeanette MacDonald and actor Christopher Walken.

Ron Paul

Listeners say the Republican congressman from Texas sounds like:

That tree in the forest that goes over and no one is around to hear it — Andrew Bergstrom

That math teacher who can finally explain integrals in a way you can understand — Simon Lee

The man who just realized his bizarre dream about not wearing his pants to work isn't really a dream after all — Jeff Cole

The thoughts of the secretary taking notes at a long, convoluted meeting of a university faculty working on a policy to allot parking spaces — Barbara Rose

A bumper car out of control — Jan Pingleton

The persistent fly trapped against the plastic bubble skylight in my bathroom — Jannifer Vener

A stiff, old, leather work glove sliding across the fender of a rusty Ford — Glenda Childress

A barber giving unsolicited chatter while cutting hair — Jim Cassell

Bouncing in a Hacky Sack game: Sometimes right on, sometimes way off the mark — Jane Bennett

A door closing on a long empty hallway — Alan McComas

Grandpa talking sense while the dinner plates are being cleared — Kate Seavey

A scheming but well-meaning friend — Charlie Smillie

The whine of the dentist drill without Novocain — Ralph Foster

A Jack Russell terrier trying to persuade his owners that he really didn't mean to kill that squirrel — Jeff Kramer

A puppet from Mr. Rogers' neighborhood of make-believe — Mathayu Warren Lane

Sitting in the middle seat on a long plane flight between an old married couple who insists on sharing their meals — Jonathan Ullman

Hillary Clinton

Listeners say the Democratic senator from New York sounds like:

The first-grade teacher you still think about 40 years later — Ruth Stanford

A bright, colorful, cherry pie made entirely of metal — Jennifer Arceneaux

Lucy from Peanuts, home from college on her way to grad school, still berating Linus and Charlie Brown — Rachel Catlett

Broken glass in your creme brulee — Loretta Shea

A brilliant, sometimes scary, always righteous mother, making your teenage life miserable and you, better — Dana Self

Your high school principal, trying to be a good sport after getting dunked for the 15th time at the dunking booth at the school carnival — Christy Hermann

The feeling you got when the mean teacher you had in grade school tried to say nice things about you to your mother during parent-teacher's conference — Jeffrey Lopez

A shovel hacking the ice off of the concrete steps — John Snow

Spring cleaning with the sun shining and the windows open and a whistle-while-you-work tune playing on the stereo — Laura Owen

The hand-knit sweater from your aunt: sincere, well intentioned but still a little scratchy — Heidi Raatz

The sex ed teacher talking about abstinence — Karam Kamel

Extra thick, waxy dental floss — Balke Hodges

The librarian who, with glee and sanctimony, advises you of your late fee — Brad Jergins

The nurse who says the shot won't hurt a bit, and you scream your lungs out — Cheryl Anthony

That super bright, vaguely attractive, slightly awkward girl in your 12th-grade class as she practices her valedictorian speech for the 11th time — Tim Sylvester

A Chicago-style hot dog with the works served with champagne — Sally Deneen

Mike Huckabee

Listeners say the Republican former governor of Arkansas sounds like:

Gomer Pyle with a master's degree — Joel Henry- Fisher

Wonderful faith with limited reasoning — Tosha Apple

The bouncy beach ball of doom — Loretta Shea

The guy who gets stuffed in his locker every other day but pretends it never happens — Rob Lytle

The good cop in the good cop-bad cop routine — Lorie Haddad

Cold fried chicken and Jell-O salad on a paper plate — Joe Brettillo

An insurance salesman giving his pitch — Jim Cassell

Porky Pig without the stammer — Dana Powell Russell

A guy who sells snake oil out of his Humvee — Ruth Stanford

My boss telling us why none of us are getting raises this year — Jan Pingleton

A 10-year-old on the brink of convincing his dad to buy a PlayStation — Ellis Hammond Pereira

The DJ I always wanted to wake up to but whose station I could never find — Barbara Rose

What a 1973 driver's ed manual would sound like if it could talk — Sandy Moran

A Fox newscaster reading from the teleprompter — Kate Seavey

That boy in high school who won't quit asking you out on a date — Krista Burczyk

Barack Obama

Listeners say the Democratic senator from Illinois sounds like:

The voice of reason found somewhere in a Neil Simon play — Harold House

A glass of pinot noir with a Ph.D. in philosophy — Bill Cox

Falling snow with the rare phenomena of thunder and lightning in the distance — Jeff Cole

A perfectly tailored camel's hair coat — John Snow

A public address system at a retail store when there's a clean-up on aisle three — Susan Kunkel

A Gary Cooper cowboy, folksy but competent, riding up to say to America: "How can I help you, Ma'am?" — Janet Zehr

A 10-year-old boy in his pajamas in front of a mirror on Halloween, practicing his best adult voice filtered through a Darth Vader mask — Lesley Hall

Driving for the first time after getting your license — Jonathan Ullman

Listening to someone on an amazing first date in college, full of hormones and idealism, confused as to whether you're more attracted mentally or physically — Kate Seavey

The tuba that leads the Fourth of July parade — Lorie Haddad

A lozenge slipping down the back of the tongue just before it chokes you — Laura Owen

An engine starting on a car that just stalled out in the path of a speeding train — Jacqueline Rouda

The echo from a really good dream you try holding onto with smiling, closed eyes — Joe Brettillo

Rocky at the top of the stairs — Saida Temofonte

Warm tea melting the sharp edge off of ice cubes — Irene Dvoraczky Bell

A saxophone line in a Dave Brubeck piece capable of shifting time to engage you — Rachel Shada

John McCain

Listeners say the Republican senator from Arizona sounds like:

A firm handshake that borders on painful — Marty Kelso

An undertaker explaining to the family why grandma's funeral will cost $15,000 — Pat Farrell

Open-mic night at a Western-sidekick retirement home — Ralph Foster

Casey Kasem announcing for the 10th straight week that your least favorite song is still No. 1 — Josh Carr

The voice black comedians give to the entire white male population — Bridget Richien

A hurricane trapped inside a pickle jar — Michael Woo

Gen. Patton's teddy bear — Ami Leaming

Mr. Fudd goes to Washington to hunt "wabbits" — Andrew Bergstrom

Old wipers swiping at high speed across a dirty windshield — Glenda Childress

Someone who is tired and carefully telling you sad news because they love you — Kate Seavey

The zipper on the pocket of a bomber jacket — Dave Edgerton

The guy you meet in an alley who opens his trench coat to try and sell you knockoff watches — Karl Krekeler

A 1968 GTO rumbling at a red light — Ellen Ternes

The big stick you carry when you speak softly — Tony McConnell

The smooth, measured calm of expertly repressed anger — Dana Powell Russell

A straw broom sweeping a gravel driveway — Alan McComas

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