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George Stephanopoulos: Do you think he's misunderstood?

Patrice Comey: Probably by some people. I think there's a great medal of people that, you know, see us all as Americans... (source:YouTube)

I can't make sense of "a great medal (or metal/mettle) of people". It seems she is trying to say "a great number of people". What word is she reaching for if that utterance is mistaken? Or did I mishear?

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    I listened too, sounds like "middle" or "medal" like you said. I can't think of a similar word that fits the context, but maybe in her mind she was searching for "deal" which shares all but one letter with "medal". – mjjf Dec 7 '20 at 23:16
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Listening a bit further into the video, I think she said "middle". She may have been searching for a different word, but based on what she said after, she could be referring to the group of people between left and right-leaning political viewpoints, collectively "the middle".

A few seconds later she said:

"I think a lot of people in the middle that sit back....

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    That did cross my mind. I didn't consider it very likely because neither "a middle of people" or "a great middle of people" sounded particularly idiomatic to me. I'd be happy with "there's a sizeable middle that see us all as Americans". But now that you've explained it in relation to a later line, "a great middle of people" seems more likely now. Thanks! – Eddie Kal Dec 7 '20 at 23:26
  • No problem! To be honest, the phrase didn't sound great when I scrutized it either. Although I wouldn't have noticed that flaw if not pointed out. I don't think it's idiomatic/natural, but I do think she said it :) – mjjf Dec 7 '20 at 23:30

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