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Sen. Richard Burr, Less Than Brilliant

Chris has a great post cataloguing the various mistakes of diction and logic Senator Burr made right around the time he was pronouncing the president incapable of speaking intelligently without a teleprompter. In addition to everything on Chris's list, I'd highlight the following Burr revelation: "A recession by definition is when you raise interest rates to slow growth."

Uh, not exactly. While you can certainly cause a recession by raising interest rates, the National Bureau of Economic Research defines a recession as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales."

Burr's statement, to put it in terms he might understand, is akin to saying, "A verbal gaffe by definition is when you try to sound authoritative talking about a bunch of stuff you don't understand." A cause, perhaps. But not a definition.

--Noam Scheiber