Before He Talks to Council, Meet Frank Luntz

Perhaps by now you've seen Rudy Bush's item about Frank Luntz, one of two speakers lined up to address the city council at its Arboretum retreat today. Among pols and media folks, Luntz is a pretty well-known guy -- after all, he's the man who, in 2003, told George W. Bush to start referring to "global warming" as "climate change." And as the Columbia Journalism Review noted only last December: "Luntz has had a long career fashioning language that helps his Republican clients. In the mid-1990s, during the first attempt to privatize Medicare, he told them to use the words 'saving,' 'preserving,' and 'strengthening' Medicare -- words we hear today when the subject comes up."

The city's coughing up $15,000 to pay for Luntz's visit, at Mayor Mike Rawlings's request; an anonymous donor's paying the other $15,000. I asked the mayor's chief of staff, Paula Blackmon, how that's possible: "Logistically, they either pay the general fund or the speaker himself." Well, that's not really what I meant. But, ya know, ethics reforms are right around the corner, so they say.

Anyway, Anna's going to beat the retreat today, because who doesn't want to spend a 72-degree day at the Degolyer Estate? She'll recap Luntz's remarks later. Till then, here's one of myriad intriguing clips featuring Luntz as he explains himself to Katie Couric, who manages to refer to the creator of PolitiFact's 2010 Lie of the Year as a "tool."

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