If you hang on every word of people like Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton, John McCain or 'the greatest political team on television' at CNN, then you're likely to agree with them that ALL of the following -- who live within the USA' 50 states -- are 'Americans.'
a) prairie dogs
d) lady bugs
f) blue jays
That's right. A gopher living in North Dakota is not just a gopher living in North Dakota, but also an AMERICAN living in North Dakota.
The reason we know this is the redundant use of 'American' to qualify the people who live within the USA's 50 states. 'This is a statement for the American people...' or 'the American people have responded' etc.
That's the same as in football, when time-filling announcers constantly refer to 'they need to work their way down the football field' or 'that was a super football play' or 'he gave him a real football hit there.'
We know it's football. Don't waste our time with the redundancy. And politicians don't need to assume we think they're referring to squirrels or mosquitos if they should ever say 'Americans' only.
Is it just us? It may be so.
A look at the Toronto Star shows only one use of 'Canadian people' as opposed to 'Canadians' that I could find: AND IT WAS A QUOTE BY AL GORE.
Meanwhile, our friends in England follow the redundant example. A recent Guardian article quotes PM Gordon Brown referring to the 'British people,' and there are scores of other examples. It's easy to imagine that politicians want to stay away from the slangy, overly informal 'Brits' for such statements, and because 'the British' isn't a countable noun -- unlike 'Americans,' 'Australians,' or 'Bulgarians' -- you can excuse the lapse.
We could find no examples in Australia's Age of using 'Australian people.'
Use of 'American people' -- when referring to humans who are American -- as anything but 'Americans' is banned.
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY
--> By the way, since no one else we'll say it, the FBO will. Kurt Warner did not fumble with 0:05 left in Super Bowl 43. He still gripped the ball fully as it went forward. The Cards should have had another shot to heave it 44 yards in the end zone. Everyone loses from seeing a Super Bowl end -- with the NFL's best defense crowding around the best receiver (who is taller) in a corner of the end zone to win it all. That would have been something to see.