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Produce Powerful Presentations (Collection) by Jerry Weissman

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73. Ms. Kagan Regrets: Nonanswers to Tough Questions

Cole Porter’s 1934 song “Miss Otis Regrets,” a wry blues tale about a society lady indisposed to answer questions, had its modern variation during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan.

In the previous chapter, you read how thoroughly the president’s staff prepared Ms. Kagan for the hearings by subjecting her to Murder Boards—intense practice sessions in which tough questions were fired at her repeatedly and to which she gave her answers repeatedly. Apparently, part of the preparation also included not answering some questions.

Jon Stewart seized on this strategy in his coverage of the hearings on The Daily Show, first by setting ...

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