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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1415
AUTHOR: Jimmy Breslin (1929–)
QUOTATION: All political power is primarily an illusion…. Illusion. Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors, first a thin veil of blue smoke, then a thick cloud that suddenly dissolves into wisps of blue smoke, the mirrors catching it all, bouncing it back and forth.
ATTRIBUTION: JIMMY BRESLIN, How the Good Guys Finally Won, Notes from an Impeachment Summer, pp. 33–34 (1975).

The phrase is usually quoted as “blue smoke and mirrors.”
SUBJECTS: Politics