The Art of "Quotemanship" and "Misquotemanship"

Quoting people accurately is really hard — and you can quote me on that.

Sometimes a Misquote Is Priceless, or to a Certain Illinois Senator, Worth a Billion, Make that a Trillion Dollars


An editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press of 13 April 2012 refers to a classic comment attributed to longtime U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-Illinois) (left).
Dirksen’s topic–the same as the editorial, titled “Deficit Talk About Real Money”–was irresponsible deficit spending by the federal government.
The editorial puts it this way:

One version of the oft-alleged quotation was: “A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
Sen. Dirksen later explained: “Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fellow misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so great that I never bothered to deny it.”

I really appreciate the fact that the editorial writer did not mindlessly attribute that well-worn statement to Sen. Dirksen. Instead, they took the time to provide the senator’s comment about the quote.

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