N.C. Governor: Hillary's No "Pansy"

Citing Clinton's toughness, Mike Easley uses word seen as gay slur

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N.C. Governor: Hillary's No "Pansy"

APRIL 29--With Hillary Clinton standing at his side, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley today described the Democratic presidential candidate as so tough that she "makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy."

Easley's compliment, as it were, may offend some voters since the word "pansy" is often used in a derogative fashion to describe a male homosexual. Or at least that's what it says in the Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary on our shelf (we scanned the "pansy" entry from page 828 and posted it here).

Other dictionaries (Oxford, Cambridge, and offer a similar definition for "pansy," describing it as a "disparaging" or "derogatory" term for an "effeminate or homosexual man." The word's primary definition, of course, refers to a plant of the viola family, which apparently was not what Easley had in mind when comparing Clinton to the boxer portrayed six times on screen by Sylvester Stallone.

When she stepped up to the mic to accept Easley's endorsement, Clinton said nothing about his "pansy" comment. (4 pages)