"John McCain isn't going to go into a stadium and talk to 70,000 people – you all know that," Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO who is one of his top advisers and a possible vice-presidential pick, said at a gathering for reporters in Washington this week. "It's not his," she said, pausing for a long moment before shrugging her shoulders, "personality."
Whether style matters is a subject of debate. But the times – rather than any axiom of politics – seem to dictate what sounds sweetest to voters' ears, analysts say.
An eloquent appeal to ideals like "hope" works best when voters want a crisp break from the past. When life is a daily struggle because of high gasoline prices and an unrelenting mortgage, they respond better to plain speech and nuts-and-bolts policy prescriptions.
When the times are a mix of both, voters can hear siren songs in each style of speech.