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Posted by ESC on June 11, 2011 at 13:08

In Reply to: Mudslinging posted by rns on June 11, 2011 at 10:29:

: Mudslinging?... I've found several sources that claim that this term literally came from reactions from voters to early American politicians "on the the stump", with if whom they disagreed, would pelt him with mud from the streets (which was liberally mixed with horse, cow, mule and other leavings). Anyone seen this?

There is a long passage in Safire’s New Political Dictionary that indicates the phrase has been figurative for a long time. “Calumniate! Caluminate! Some of it will always stick,” was spoken in The Barber of Seville (1775). That was based on an “ancient Latin advice, ‘Fortiter calumniari, aliquia adhaerbit,’ or ‘Throw plenty of dirt and some of it will be sure to stick.’” Mr. Safire said around the time of the Civil War in the United States, water was added and the terms mud-throwing, mud-gunning and mudslinging were used. “Safire’s New Political Dictionary” by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993). Page 471.