The Gail Collins, in an otherwise humorous column Alabama Goes Viral, plays a sleight of hand when quoting the now famous television advertisement by Dale Peterson, running for Alabama Agricultural Commissioner.

Here is Collins’ description (emphasis mine):

This is the start of Peterson’s campaign ad. He rides into the screen on a horse that looks increasingly worried as things progress. Brandishing a rifle, the 64-year-old farmer barks at the camera about his opponent (“a dummy”), somebody stealing his yard signs and immigrants being “bused in by the thousands.” The overall effect is like being cornered at a party by an eccentric neighbor who thinks the garbage man is spying on him for the federal government. It’s extremely popular.

But Collins didn’t quote the video correctly. Peterson actually said “illegals bused in by the thousands.” [Added: Actually, I’m not sure he says “bused in” but rather “bust in.” Anyone out there who speaks Southern and can clarify that for me?]

Collins’ rendition makes it appear that Peterson was against all immigrants, when in fact his words spoke only of illegal immigrants.

What is The Gail Collins afraid of? Words, just words?

I hope she’s not out stealing Peterson’s yard signs.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU7fhIO7DG0]

Update: Hey, this is turning into something sociological. Kudos to many of the commenters for pointing out The Gail Collins assumed the term was “bused in” because of Collins’ subliminal assumption that white people in the South must complain about “busing” because busing was the point of grievance for some whites in the Northeast in the 1970s. The busing riots in Southie (Boston) when I was growing up (not in Southie) are vivid in my mind from the television coverage.

Thanks also to reader Ray from San Diego for this translation:

I don’t have an account that allows me to post comments so here is the answer to your question.

Your question: Actually, I’m not sure he says “bused in” but rather “bust in.” Anyone out there who speaks Southern and can clarify that for me?

Here is what he said: “…illegals bust in by the thousands…”

Here is the translation to Yankee-speak: “…illegals are breaking into the country by the thousands…”

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