What do Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, George W. Bush, and John Edwards have in common? They've all been criticized for the way they speak — charged with affecting or suppressing or exaggering an accent so voters will identify with them.
But do accents have anything to do with authenticity? Does a dropped 'g' or a Southern-fried phrasing offer any kind of window into character? Linguist Geoff Nunberg has some thoughts about candidates and regional cadence.