Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says,
“Mitt Romney gives used car salesmen a bad name.”
It might be a more effective attack if Mitt Romney actually was a used car salesmen.
Reader Debbie added:
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I’m a bit confused about Harry Reid’s comments, where he said Mitt Romney is “giving used-car salesmen a bad name.”
Don’t used-car salesmen already have a bad name?
He’s completely messed up the idiom.
It would be “used-car salesmen give the sales profession a bad name,” or “Mitt Romney gives venture capitalists a bad name,” or something like that.
In other words, Mitt Romney’s bad example gives an entire group that he’s associated with — a group that previously had a good name — a bad name.
What he’s trying to say is, Mitt Romney is as bad as a used-car salesman. In fact, he’s worse.
We get the idea but it’s a poor use of the idiom.
Yes, it didn’t make much sense.