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Ideas

the Word

Who you calling a moocher?

How an old-timey slur became the rage in 2012

After Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” fund-raiser video was leaked on Sept. 17, certain key words and phrases took on a life of their own: “Victims.” “I’ll never convince them.” But a word that has become a key part of the campaign conversation is one Romney didn’t use: “moochers.”

The increase in “moocher” talk since the video’s release has been remarkable. Before that date, the LexisNexis news database had counted 420 media mentions of “moocher” or “moochers” for 2012. In just the final two weeks of September, it appeared a whopping 477 times.

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