McCain Could Use Pronouncers in His Scripts
Sen. John McCain gave another statement to reporters earlier this morning about the escalating conflict in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. In the statement, McCain gave a brief history of the republic, and said he has met with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili "many times, including during several trips to Georgia." However, during his comments this morning in Pennsylvania — which he read — he repeatedly mispronounced the Georgian leader’s name, referring to him as SHOSH-ka-vee-lee, instead of the correct, SAH-AH-kahsh-VEE-lee, according to Voice of America‘s handy pronunciation guide.
I don’t mean to be petty — the name is not an easy one to say correctly, particularly for Westerners — but McCain wasn’t even close. If he met "many times" with the Georgian president, it would probably be a good sign that McCain had done his homework and pronounced the leader’s name properly — especially when he is highlighting his supposedly close relationship with Saakashvili.
Furthermore, one of McCain’s top advisers, Randy Scheunemann, was a longtime lobbyist for the Georgian government. So McCain should have this one nailed down. The point is a small one, but it is an important sign of respect — considering McCain wants to be the principal agent and public face of U.S. foreign relations. Maybe his writers should take a cue from radio and TV reporters — and include phonetic pronunciations of tricky names in his scripts.