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Read My Lips

“Read my lips” ia a phrase used by George H.W. Bush in his speech for the 1988 Republican nomination for president.

The full quote is “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

The line is credited with both helping him both win the presidency in 1988 and lose his bid for reelection in 1992.

The phrase became the main soundbite of Bush’s campaign in 1988, and it electrified the GOP base. His assertive promise to not raise taxes became what the American people expected from him.

When he was forced to raise taxes in 1990, that promise was broken, and he was attacked from both sides of the aisle.

Time ranks it as the 3rd most unfortunate one-liner ever given in politics (behind Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon’s famous denials).

Use of “Read My Lips” in a sentence

  • The phrase “read my lips” became iconic in political discourse after President George H.W. Bush used it to emphasize his promise of no new taxes during the 1988 presidential campaign.
  • During the rally, the candidate echoed the famous “read my lips” phrase to underline his commitment to not raising tuition fees, aiming to galvanize support among the student population.
  • The politician’s “read my lips” moment came back to haunt her when she had to backtrack on her promise, showcasing the risks involved in making unequivocal pledges on the campaign trail.