Most candidates for political office criticize or attack their opponents. Barack Obama, however, is, per the New York Times’ Michael Powell, “gingerly fitting himself with the cloth of a partisan Democrat.”

Which sounds lovely, really, for politics. (Although you could see that same phrasing, in the hands of another Times writer, becoming something less lovely and more liability. Effete, even.)

And speaking of cloth (I guess?), Powell reports that Obama has not changed this campaign season out of his consistently “formal” “gravitas”-lending attire:

In style of dress, Mr. Obama ends as he started: a studiously formal fellow. ..When it comes to Mr. Obama, a certain comic aspect attends to these fashion deconstructions. He is like a minimalist musician hitting a new note; the slightest change in his look excites speculation. Are you sure he undid his tie?! What depths of emotion must roil beneath that cotton dress shirt!

Content and tone of that paragraph aside, is “?!” any way to punctuate a sentence in the New York Times?! Can :-) be far behind?

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.