AKA Frank I. Luntz
Birthplace: West Hartford, CT
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Political Strategist
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Republican pollster, strategist
Frank Luntz is a mostly behind-the-scenes Republican operative whose primary function involves writing and fine-tuning the party's "talking points", a literal list of key words and phrases deemed effective in discussing issues. His memos are universally read among well-connected conservatives, which is why the right-wing radio shows, Fox News talking heads, and DC politicians will all frequently respond to events and controversies with exactly the same phrases -- they're phrases calculated to convince, and Luntz is very, very good at it.
Though he keeps a low public profile, his successful turn-of-phrases are ubiquitous in political conversations. It was Luntz and his staff who dubbed relaxed regulation of pollution as "The Clear Skies Initiative", the estate tax as "the death tax", the ordinary process of Congressional reconciliation as "the nuclear option", and the 2010 reform of health care regulation as a "government takeover of health care".
In his crime bill, Clinton wanted $18 million for midnight basketball. But two years later, he called for a 10 p.m. curfew. Think about that. Ten o'clock curfew, hoops at twelve. It doesn't make sense, and Republicans could have used that to great effect.
The education legislation that he called for would have spent millions of dollars to close caption the TV show Baywatch. But who tunes in to Baywatch for the dialogue? It's a bunch of people wearing swim suits who jiggle from one side of the screen to the other. If you close-caption it, you're blocking off 40 percent of the screen! The deaf won't even be able to see what they came for.
Anyway, when I work with Republicans on their speeches, I try to lighten them up like this.
According to Salon: "In 1997, Luntz was formally reprimanded by the American Association for Public Opinion Research for his work polling on the GOP's 1994 'Contract with America' campaign document."
Discussing Trent Lott's 2002 implosion, Luntz told Hardball's Chris Matthews that Lott actually meant something quite different than what everyone heard him say:
||What do you believe [Lott] thinks those problems are that we've avoided or that we've incurred because we didn't vote racist back in '48?|
||It has to do with problems that we've had over the last eight or nine years. I don't want to speak --|
||He said we wouldn't have these problems if we had voted for Strom Thurmond in '48 for President, a segregationist who ran against Harry Truman. What is he talking about there?|
||I think that some of the issues that he's talking about, quite frankly -- and I don't know if he would agree or disagree -- but I think some of it has to do with Bill Clinton and the things that happened in the 1990s: the moral decay of the country, the acceptance of certain types of behavior.|
Father: Lester L. Luntz (forensic dentist, d. 6-Feb-1996, heart attack)
Sister: Mona R. Luntz
High School: William H. Hall High School, West Hartford, CT
University: MA History and Political Science, University of Pennsylvania (1984)
University: PhD Political Science, Oxford University
Professor: Adjunct Professor, University of Pennsylvania (1989-96)
Fox News Channel Focus Group Czar (2008)
American Express Consultant
General Motors Consultant
America Coming Together
Business Roundtable Consultant
National Association of Manufacturers Consultant
New Republican Majority Fund
Ryan for Congress
US Chamber of Commerce Consultant
Risk Factors: Toupee, Insomnia
America's Voices Host
The West Wing Consultant
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
The Last Debate (5-Nov-2000) · Himself
Author of books:
Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear (2007)
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