TRR: From “Hope and Change” to “Adios Mofo”

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Is “Adios Mofo” an infamous political blooper or the rising campaign slogan of the 2012 election? In 2005 Houston-based ABC News reporter Ted Oberg was questioning Texas Governor Rick Perry on his education policy. Having not gotten the responses he wanted Mr. Oberg cut the interview short, saying “Try as I may, Governor, I guess I can’t win this one.” After Mr. Oberg walked away Mr. Perry turned aide Robert Black and said, mimicking Oberg, “Try as I may, Governor, I’m not going to wait that long. Adios, mofo.” The statement and video became a talk radio and internet sensation. Mr. Perry later apologized to Mr. Oberg, but as ABC recently reported, “those infamous words did not go away so quickly,” and will be title James Moore’s forthcoming book, “Adios Mofo: Why Rick Perry Will Make America Miss George W. Bush.” 

But hyping this incident may backfire on Mr. Perry’s critics. Despite its vulgar connotations “mofo” is not exactly an obscenity, especially in contemporary culture. And Mr. Perry did not call anyone a “mofo” but was characterizing what he felt was rude behavior on the part of Mr. Oberg. It also showed that Mr. Perry is not afraid to speak his mind bluntly, a refreshing contrast to most politicians. More to the point, “Adios Mofo” succinctly captures what a large segment of the population has been eager to say to the current occupant of the White House for some time. It could easily become the unofficial Perry campaign slogan, and is certain to appear on signs at campaign rallies alongside pictures of Mr. Obama. “Adios Mofo” could be to 2012 what “Hope and Change” was to 2008.



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About the Author

James S. Robbins

James S. Robbins, Ph.D., former Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs, was formerly professor of international relations at the National Defense University, associate professor of international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College and special assistant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld. Dr. Robbins is author of the recently released "This Time ...

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