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Swing Vote

Swing Vote

Date: Oct 29 2008

Themes: News, Pop Culture


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

People often think that their vote won’t make a difference. But many elections are decided by surprisingly few votes. If 600 people had voted differently in 2000, Al Gore would have been president of the US.

But what if the election came down to just one vote? It would probably be an average person who could make the difference.

The average person, or Joe Six-Pack, has been a big topic of discussion in the US Presidential election this year. And a real average guy named Joe, who lives in Ohio and is a plumber, has become a living symbol of the average person. In the last debate, both candidates spoke directly to Joe the Plumber and each believes his plan for the US will be better for Joe and people like him.

In the new movie called Swing Vote, a guy like Joe the Plumber finds himself at the center of American politics. Listen to Marni and Jason talk about it.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Jason:  Before Joe Plumber was mentioned in these debates, there was already this movie in the works for years, you know, because it takes years to get a movie made…

Marni:  Right.

Jason:  ...called Swing Vote.

Marni:  Oh yeah, Kevin Costner.

Jason:  Yeah. It’s basically about Joe Plumber and if the entire election were decided by Joe Plumber.

Marni:  So, essentially the plot is that it comes down to one person, right?

Jason:  It’s, like, a guy who lives in a swing state.

Marni:  OK.

Jason:  And he votes, but there’s some sort of error in his vote and so they come and they say, “Oh, you get to revote because your vote wasn’t counted.”

Marni:  So he’s, like, the tie breaker, essentially.

Jason:  Yeah. But it’s really funny because the candidates just totally flip flop over the issues to win his vote.

Marni:  Oh yeah.

Jason:  Like, suddenly the Republican is pro-choice and, you know, worrying about the environment, and the Democrat’s like all about, you know, guns and stuff.

Marni:  So there’s a lot of pandering.

Jason:  Yeah. In a way, that’s how elections go…

Marni:  Yeah…

Jason:  ...anyway. I feel like people will essentially do anything to get elected.

Marni:  Huh, that’s interesting. So I guess that’s kind of an interesting premise then that just this one person could sort of make or break an election.

Jason:  It’s sort of every voter’s fantasy….

Marni:  Yeah.

Jason:  ...that it’s going to be a dead heat and it all comes down to you.

Marni:  Yeah, I guess so. Yeah, good argument for voting.

Jason:  Yeah.



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Production on Swing Vote had begun well before anyone had heard of Joe the Plumber. The opinion of the common person is certainly central to this election!

In the movie, the candidates change their minds about important issues to try to please Kevin Costner’s character. Jason thinks real elections can be somewhat similar, with politicians saying whatever they have to to get elected. Do you agree? When you vote, do you like to feel like the whole election is up to you?



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Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i never seen a real election in my country unfortunatly

08:47 PM Oct 29 2008 |




This lesson it’s full of technician terms of vocabulary,but it gaves to understand :)

07:45 PM Oct 29 2008 |




I never felt that I would go to make difference in an election,but I know that to vote it's very important…

07:38 PM Oct 29 2008 |



El Salvador

well, a vote can change the future of the elections…but nowadays a lot of people don't believe in the politicians because the promises always become fake…

07:10 PM Oct 29 2008 |




I would say, who got the gun, who won the game…..

the progress is not important, the thing that real matters is the result…

We don't know what hides in the dark, but when the glim of sunlight raises, we know there's HOPE~

04:38 PM Oct 29 2008 |




The premise that just one voter can make or break an election makes for an interesting plot for a comedy. The whole idea that a Joe Six-Pack can be the tie breaker when it comes to deciding who will win the election, is a testament to what democracy is supposed to be all about. I think a dead heat in an electoral process, although technically possible, would be highly unlikely to happen. I didn't know that this movie, Swing Vote, had been in the works for so long. It surely is being released at the right time, though.

04:37 PM Oct 29 2008 |



03:29 PM Oct 29 2008 |



the contrary, I think that one vote brings together many voices

03:28 PM Oct 29 2008 |




I agree with you, hiszys, there might be some sort of

cheating in voting booths, but that happens when democracy starts to shake. 

When I get to vote, I like to feel as if the whole election depends on my vote.   I guess that is one of the

reasons the undecided voters have not made their minds yet in the U.S. 

Pliticians would say whatever they have to to get

 elected.  I think that is the way it works.  A candidate

would lie and say I will do this, and I will do that.  But

when he or she gets elected, he or she will break their

 promises.  that is deception right there.

03:28 PM Oct 29 2008 |



one vote is not important, but many "one vote" are

12:29 PM Oct 29 2008 |




vote is nothing but a type of choosing in policy. it is neither the best or the least. it is just a kind of method.  since it is human who invented it, there will always have human track through the voting process.will it really be fair enough. how many people really believe that there is true right at their hands? it is mere a fun game in huge scale.




12:07 PM Oct 29 2008 |




at least ,it seems fair ,cos every one can take part in it . but if the whole process of the election and the voting could be opened to the public , and no special institution control it at the behind .then it 's really fair .

05:21 AM Oct 29 2008 |



I think voting is the fairest.

01:13 AM Oct 29 2008 |




I think voting is really important.

01:00 AM Oct 29 2008 |

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