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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 11, 2008 7:54 AM

UPDATED: More on Republican re-branding

Posted by David Postman

I wrote below about Dino Rossi's decision to list himself on the ballot as a member of the "G.O.P.," meaning primary and general election voters will not see him identified as a Republican.

That raises the question about how many people know that GOP stands for Grand Old Party.

The Rossi campaign says voters get it. But a reader reminded me this morning that not even every Republican in office knows what it means. In 1999, Washington's late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent, a former Seahawk, gave the Republican response to President Bill Clinton's State of the Union Address.

Largent said, in describing his lack of political background,

Prior to 1994, my wife and I, we weren't political. We were like most families, raising four kids, hustling from one school or sports event to another - our car littered by fast food wrappers and French fries.

In fact, it wasn't until after I was elected that I attended a Republican function where a banner hung that read "GOP." I had to ask someone what those letters stood for.

They said, "Grand Old Party, of course."

(Thanks, Anthony.)

UPDATE: Another reader sends along a piece from CBS about the Wall Street Journal’s Decision in 2002 to drop the use of GOP in news stories and headlines.

In an internal memo issued to staffers last week, Journal higher-ups said the term GOP will be dropped because not all readers know what the letters mean, and some may not realize that they are a reference to the Republican Party.

That doesn't mean that the time-honored letters will disappear forever from the pages of the prestigious financial newspaper.

Reporters and editors will still be allowed to use the term in a quotation, if someone else says GOP. But an explanation of the acronym will be provided for any readers who might be stumped.

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