Sometimes it's best simply to acknowledge one's differences rather than try to adopt the local vernacular.
Romney did a little of both as he campaigned in the Southern primaries.
"Morning, ya'll," the former Massachusetts governor told an audience in Jackson, Miss. "I got started this morning right with a biscuit and some cheesy grits."
Romney admitted, though, that his southern education was a work in progress, saying the South was "a bit of an away game" for him.
"I'm learning to say 'ya'll' and I like grits," he allowed in Pascagoula, Miss. "Strange things are happening to me."
Even skilled politicians sometimes acknowledge the political realities of reaching out to the local audience.
Mrs. Obama at times declares that she's giving "a good-old shout-out" to her local hosts.
Vice President Joe Biden took the honesty tactic to a whole new level last month when he told the crowd at a breakfast fundraiser in Washington that "you all look dull as hell. ... The dullest audience I have ever spoken to. Just sitting there staring at me."
"Pretend you like me!" he pleaded.
The request seemed to work. Biden got a friendly laugh.
Mistakes will be made.
Biden, known for meandering introductions, strayed a wee bit too far when he recognized the Irish prime minister during a St. Patrick's Day celebration in 2010. He noted that the prime minister's mother had lived on Long Island, "God rest her soul."
Bless Biden's soul, the prime minister's mother was still very much alive.
"God bless her soul," Biden stammered. "I've got to get this straight."
That oops moment pales next to a 2004 flub by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. He committed what many in Wisconsin might consider an unpardonable offense when he referred to Lambeau Field, hallowed ground to Green Bay Packers fans, as "Lambert Field."
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