I once heard somewhere that a gaffe occurs not when politicians are lying, but when they're telling the truth. If that's correct, we, as a nation, might be in a lot of trouble. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle and this pretty little thing called the Internet, no gaffe goes unnoticed. Since the media tends to have a liberal slant, we probably hear about Mitt Romney's off-the-cuff errors more than we do President Obama's, but make no mistake, neither candidate is perfect.
Whether you're on Team Elephant or Team Donkey, you might take one look at this list of Romney and Obama gaffes from the 2012 election and decide, shoot, I'm on Team Dingbat because, double shoot, it can't be any worse.
Let's start with Obama. He's had a rough go of it this week. The president's first misstep came on Wednesday while talking to Telemundo. When asked about the attacks on American embassies in North Africa and the protester presence in Cairo, Obama said that no, the United States doesn't consider Egypt an ally, "but we don’t consider them an enemy."
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Ouch. As Noah Rothman at Mediaite points out, that's a pretty flippant response about our relationship with Egypt, one that's been a steady and mostly healthy partnership for the last 30 years. After Obama said that, the White House clarified his answer, saying that the president didn't mean they weren't an "ally", it's just that Egypt's not an "ally", per se. Ally, as the White House explains, is a legal term of art. Helpful.
Right after Obama's Egypt blunder, he went to Las Vegas and likened the contributions of his campaign volunteers to the service of the troops overseas and members of the State Department. Anyone else think handing out Obama buttons for your country and sacrificing your life for your country are kind of two different things?
Then there was the "you didn't build that" gaffe heard 'round the world. Regardless of whether or not he meant it, he still said it. Syntax is everything.
Now to Romney. Let's start with his "worst talking point ever", shall we? It came when the Governor claimed he "retroactively retired" from Bain Capital, which, you know, what? Sure, he doesn't want to be associated with outsourcing and bankruptcy, but this retro-retire phrase might even be worse.
Then there's that time he insulted all of London by saying he found a few things "disconcerting" about their preparedness for the Olympic games. Gulp. That didn't sit well with anyone. I bet Kate Middleton was pissed.
But most recently, Romney has come under fire for his alleged gaffe regarding the events in Libya. Mitt was quick to criticize Obama and the White House for sympathising with the attackers, rather than condemning them. Neither the president nor the White House was actually responsible for the tweet Romney was alluding to -- the one that "supported" the attackers -- and now people think Romney acts before he has all the facts.
And then there was that time he misspoke and introduced Paul Ryan as the next president of the United States.
And these are probably just the tip of the iceberg. As the election goes on, there were be many, many for gaffes. We just have to decide which ones we'll let slide, and which ones will make us write in Roseanne Barr for president.
Do gaffes matter to you?
Photo via markn3tel/Flickr