State Of States Speeches Examined How do governors of the 50 states find the right words to talk about their states in such economically bad times? Some of the rhetoric employed this year ranged from the straight-on, no-soft-edges approach to the rhetoric couched in metaphor and illusion.
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State Of States Speeches Examined

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State Of States Speeches Examined

State Of States Speeches Examined

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

We just heard the governor of North Dakota saying the state of his state is strong. Since the beginning of the month, the nation's governors have been delivering their annual state of state addresses. And in most places, states are in not such good health, at least when it comes to the economy. Each governor, it seems, has a different way to use words to reveal or to cloak the bad news - one way, a "money is not all that important" approach.

(Soundbite of State of the State address)

Governor KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (Democrat, Kansas): The state of our state is not defined by ending balances or revenue receipts. It's about the quality and character of the Kansas people.

NORRIS: Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, reports that by that measure, her state's never been stronger. An even more muscular approach came from California's Republican Governor.

(Soundbite of State of the State address)

Governor ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (Republican, California): Well, we meet in times of great hope for our nation, although we hear the drumbeat of news about bailouts, bankruptcies, and Ponzi schemes.

NORRIS: No, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did not say "bouncy schemes." He was talking about Ponzi schemes. But you get the point he was making. Things are dreadful here and everywhere. That gloves-off language was also heard in Connecticut.

(Soundbite of State of the State address)

Governor M. JODI RELL (Republican, Connecticut): We will not soon see an end to bankruptcies and to foreclosures, to pink slips or to red ink. Families in Connecticut and across the nation are rightly fearful and angry.

NORRIS: Governor M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, held nothing back from the folks in Hartford. In Little Rock, Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, phrased his speech as "hey, America might be hurting, but Arkansans are OK."

(Soundbite of State of the State address)

Governor MIKE BEEBE (Democrat, Arkansas): Despite our nation's struggle with an economic slide unmatched since the Great Depression, Arkansas continues to make advancements in education and to attract new businesses.

NORRIS: Republican Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a state in the middle of the country, might win this year's award for the best use of a nautical allusion. He suggested the right combination of leadership can pull his state through the economic hard times this way.

(Soundbite of State of the State address)

Governor MITCH DANIELS (Republican, Indiana): In high seas, the best crews bring their ships to port safely and first. Just as we guarded against these economic times better than other states, so we will wade through them now with greater success.

NORRIS: Bottom line, in bad times, some of the nation's governors have to speak of and find that elusive silver lining.

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