Adding to the growing corpus of speech errors connected to the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, we have Jo Ann Davidson, Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee, at the Republican convention in St. Paul, 9/2/2008:
We are holding a convention to ((el- )) nominate a Republican woman governor, Sarah Pawlenty, our next vice president!
Ms. Davidson's substitution of "Pawlenty" for "Palin" is a bit more suprising, and thus perhaps a bit more meaningful, than the other word-substitution errors that we've noted recently:
Tim Pawlenty is a governor, like Sarah Palin; his name, like hers, starts with 'P'; and he was on the short list for John McCain's VP pick. So this substitution has an array of characteristics that are often associated with such errors — the same part of speech, with a strong contextual association, and a shared initial sound.
But I doubt that many of us would have made this slip, since "Pawlenty" is not a very psychologically active word for us, even in the context of naming the Republican vice-presidential candidate last Tuesday. So when I first heard this, I wondered whether it might be a genuinely "Freudian" slip, in the sense that it tells us something non-obvious about Ms. Davidson's state of mind.
But on reflection, it seems to me that this is probably not true. Mr. Pawlenty is the governor of Minnesota, the state that hosted the Republican convention, so that Ms. Davidson is likely to have been hearing and using his name over the previous few days, and probably even talking with him, quite independent of his status as a competitor to Sarah Palin.
The remaining point of interest in this case is that Ms. Davidson didn't correct herself. I wonder whether this is because she didn't notice the slip, or whether she was too embarrassed to follow the applause with a revision.